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Here to Help

USDA-FSA representatives says FSA is ready and willing to offer farm loans.

“In spite of what you’ve heard, we are from the government, and we are here to help you,” Becky Gerlach, acting farm loan chief for the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Wyoming told the more than 500 producers and industry leaders attending the 2017 Range Beef Cow Symposium. The popular biennial event was hosted Nov. 28-30 in Cheyenne, Wyo., and co-hosted by Extension personnel from the University of Nebraska, University of Wyoming, Colorado State University and South Dakota State University.

Gerlach was joined by Scott Miller the USDA-FSA farm loan chief for Colorado in highlighting the many farm loan opportunities available to producers from their agency. The agency offers loans to ag producers in all 50 states. Their lending includes financing beginning farmers, which are classified as individuals with less than 10 years of experience; underserved populations, which include women and ethnic minorities; as well as youth loans, microloans and regular operation loans.

As testament to the impact FSA’s loan services have within agriculture and rural communities, Gerlach shared that over the past year FSA made farm loans valued at $728 million within just the four co-host Range Beef Cow Symposium states of Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota. Interestingly, $303 million of those loans were to beginning farmers.

Of their loan customers, Miller noted, “Our client is changing. We are getting new people into agriculture all the time.” He cited an uptick in producers entering agriculture with a focus on organic and natural production. Miller shared that 50% of all the FSA ag loans in Colorado last year were to beginning farmers.

“FSA is an entryway door for people to start in farming,” Gerlach added.

The duo encouraged producers to seek out FSA to learn more about the variety of lending services available. Information is available at

As additional information, Gerlach underscored that no matter who a producer uses as a lender building a relationship and open communication are critical.

Likewise, Smith told producers in the audience that developing a written business plan to identify the type of operation, who’s involved, the marketing plan, and the amount being requested for the loan are key to showing any lender your commitment to the loan and project.

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