Cover photo for Hawaii New Farmer Loan

Hawaii New Farmer Loan

Hawaii Department of Agriculture

The Hawaii New Farmer Loans are part of the Hawaii Agricultural Loan Division.

The State of Hawaii, Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Loan Division administers the Agricultural Loan Program and the Aquaculture Loan Program. The intent of the programs is to help promote agricultural and aquacultural development of the State by providing credit at reasonable rates and terms to qualifying individuals or entities. Through the establishment of a revolving loan fund, credit is made available by supplementing private lender sector loan funds or by providing direct funding.

Considered a “lender of last resort”, the program is not intended to compete with private sector lenders. Prospective applicants must inquire with and be denied credit from private sector lenders prior to filling an application. In addition, prospective applicants must fulfill applicable eligibility requirements. Applicants that are not able to obtain denials from the private lending sector may inquire with the private lender on the possibility of utilizing the insured/guaranty and/or participation loan facilities.


A New Farmer is:

  • A citizen of the United States who has resided in Hawaii for the preceding three years, or any permanent resident alien who has resided in Hawaii for the preceding three years; and

  • A person who has successfully earned a degree in agriculture from an accredited university or community college; or

  • A person displaced from employment in an agricultural production enterprise; or

  • A person with two years experience as a part-time farmer; or

  • A farm laborer or tenant, or a person who by reason of ability, experience and training are likely to successfully operate a farm.

  • Certain restrictions may apply.

New Farmer Loans are for applicants who intend to farm full-time. A full-time farmer is a person who devotes most of their time to farming or derives most of their income from farming operations. A down payment or equity contribution equal to 15% of the total project cost is required from the applicant.


Loan Rate and Amount:

  • Interest Rates:  6% or 1.5% below the prime rate whichever is less with an interest rate floor of 3%. Rates are fixed at time of loan approval.

  • Amount: $250,000 (see Note)

Note: Maximum loan amount of $250,000 may be used for a Farm Ownership and Improvement loan or a Farm Operating loan, or a combination of both types of loans.

Farm Ownership and Improvement Loans:

  • Purpose: Purchase or improvement of farmland; construction, or improvement of essential farm buildings; liquidation of indebtedness for the foregoing purposes.

  • Maximum Term: 40 years

Farm Operating Loans:

  • Purpose: Purchase of farm equipment and livestock; payment of production and marketing expenses including materials, labor, and services; payment of living expenses; liquidation of indebtedness incurred for the foregoing purposes.

  • Maximum Term: 10 years

Micro-Loans are also available for New Farmers, however, theses loans are restricted to operating loan purposes only. The maximum loan amount is $25,000 and the maximum term is 10 years. The application process minimizes paperwork and the loan approval process is expedited.

Application Instructions

Loan applications may be obtained from any Agricultural Loan Division Office. Loan Officers are available to provide assistance and guidance on the loan process. In order to be eligible for a direct loan, applicants must be denied credit from two lenders, which include banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, mortgage loan companies, the Farm Credit System and/or the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A private lender may pursue a participation loan or insured loan on behalf of the applicant. Under these circumstances, the private lender will work in conjunction with the Division on the loan application.

As part of the application process, aspects such as repayment ability, collateral, capital, economic and/or environmental conditions, credit history, and other factors will be taken into consideration. Acceptable applications are presented to the Board of Agriculture for final approval, with the exception of Micro-loans, which may be approved by the Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture.

Prior to obtaining and completing the loan application, it is recommend that you meet with or call one of our loan officers. They are available to assist you in determining your eligibility for the loan program and to guide you through the application process.

Updated March 22, 2024

Image Credit: University of Hawai‘i News

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