Washington State Farm Service Agency March Newsletter

March 2016

NL Masthead

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Washington FSA Newsletter

Washington Farm Service Agency

316 W. Boone, Ste. 568
Spokane, WA 99201-2350


State Committee:
Don Olmstead, Jr., Chair
Larry DeHaan, Member
Steve Hair, Member
Jesus Limon, Member
Sheryl Hagen-Zakarison, Member

State Executive Director:
Judy Olson

Division Chiefs:
Mike Mandere, Administration
Rod Hamilton, Programs
Mike Mykines, Loans

Please contact your local FSA office for questions specific to your operation or county.

Financing Expands Options for Storage and Handling

One of the Farm Service Agency's best kept secrets is the Farm Storage Facility Loan Program. The program has expanded beyond its origins of providing low-interest financing options for commodity crop storage to offering low-interest financing for a wide array of specialty crop storage and handling facilities. The best news is the "not able to get credit elsewhere" criteria for most of FSA's loan programs doesn't apply to the Farm Storage Facility Loan Program.

If you have been contemplating how to pay for storage or handling equipment or facilities to meet food safety regulations, this program may be the option for you.  Or, if you are just expanding or diversifying your operation, the program may offer the financing you need.  Eligible crops and products include everything from alfalfa to yogurt.

The maximum loan amount is $500,000 per loan request.  Loan terms are seven, ten or 12 years depending on the loan amount. As of the last week in February, the annual interest rate was 2% to 2.25% depending on the term of the loan.  A $100 application fee is required.

If you are interested in a Farm Storage Facility Loan, contact your county FSA office before starting any construction.  Learn more about the program at your county FSA office or view the online Farm Storage Facility Loan fact sheet.

Resources for Veterans Transitioning to Farming

USDA recognizes the service that veterans have made to America.  In return, American taxpayers, through USDA, offer veterans special preferences.  If you are a recent veteran, you may be eligible for special preference when seeking financial assistance through FSA loan programs.  Additional benefits may be available to you as a beginning farmer. 

Other USDA agencies also have veteran preferences for some programs and veterans receive preferential federal hiring.  USDA has consolidated information about resources available for veterans in a single location on the USDA website - https://newfarmers.usda.gov/veterans.

Non-profit organizations have formed to assist veterans transition from the battlefield to the farm.  Some of these organizations are:

Growing Veterans - Combining veteran reintegration with sustainable agriculture. Located in Lynden, WA (Whatcom Co.) with connections in King, Thurston, Snohomish counties. http://growingveterans.org/.   

Vets on the Farm/Spokane Conservation District - Transitioning veterans into civilian life and careers in agriculture. https://www.facebook.com/VetsOnTheFarm

Farmer Veteran Coalition - The mission of the Farmer Veteran Coalition is to mobilize veterans to feed America, cultivating a new generation of farmers and food leaders. http://www.farmvetco.org/

Homegrown by Heroes - Helps veterans market their agricultural products. http://hgbh.org/

To learn more about the FSA programs contact your county FSA office.