COLUMBIA- The Missouri Agriculture and Small Business Development Authority (MASDBA) is now accepting applications for two programs that can be used to assist producers in their agriculture needs.
The programs will reduce the amount of paid interest required for loans. The programs could also expand the limits on the loans, allowing more producers to apply.
This loan relief for farmers comes after the number of farms in the U.S. has declined. There were 2.01 million U.S. farms in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In addition, the number of farms diminishing is mostly small farms that can’t keep up with the changing innovations in the agriculture industry. Bigger farms yield higher crops and livestock which consequently make the prices for products lower.
Chapter 12 bankruptcy, a type of bankruptcy filed for farmers to propose a payment plan to avoid foreclosure on their land, is increasing in states that are reliant on agriculture, according to the USDA. The Beginner Farmer Loan Program and The Family Farm Breeding Livestock Tax Credit program aim to relieve and promote more start-up farms in Missouri.
The Beginner Farmer Loan Program
The Beginner Farmer Loan Program allows lenders to receive federally tax-exempt interest on loans to newer farmers. The waived tax from the lenders then allows them to charge lower than standard interest rates that can sometimes be over 5%. Loan applicants can use the loans to buy agricultural land, farm buildings, farm equipment and breeding livestock. The maximum amount for a loan is over $600,000.
Farmers like Dustin Stanton think programs like this are a great way to get first-time farmers into the industry.
“These loans are actually very helpful to help people have better cash flow, especially when they’re getting started,” Stanton said.
Stanton explained the money that comes in when farmers first break into the agriculture industry is only enough to cover assets and expenses. The loan would allow farmers to have an easier time figuring out and managing expenses to break even in costs.
“If you are going with the higher rates, a lot of times if you’re even breaking even at the end of the year,” Stanton said. “All the money is going back to pay the interest and there is no money left to feed your family.”
Stanton predicts the break would allow people to still have enough money left over to support their families.
The Family Farm Breeding Livestock Tax Credit Program
The Family Farm Breeding Livestock Tax Credit program is a tax credit that goes to lenders who give loans to small farmers breeding livestock. The lender would waive the first year’s interest on the livestock loans, according to MASBDA.
Farmers can use the loan to purchase livestock such as dairy cattle, beef cattle, swine, sheep or goats. Farmers can reapply for the loan for every new livestock purchase, according to MASDBA.
Stanton also said this program will give farmers more time to mature their livestock enough to sell to the markets to make money.
“If someone’s getting started, that would be a good way to alleviate that interest [in] year one. By the time year two rolls around, your livestock starts producing and able to be sold at market, so by year two they will be able to pay that interest,” Stanton said.
Stanton said these programs are important to not only farmers now, but the future stability of farming, as the number of farmers is decreasing and getting older. The average age of farmers is 57 years old, according to The 2022 Census of Agriculture.
“We do need new blood in the industry. The good news about these programs is hopefully we get younger folks in the industry to help so there is not a problem down the road,” Stanton said.
To apply for the Beginner Farmer Loan Program, click here
To apply for the Family Farm Breeding Livestock Tax Credit Program, click here