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Emerging farmers can receive help getting started

A loan program designed to help nontraditional farmers start or expand their businesses is doubling the maximum amount that emerging farmers can borrow, according to a press release.

The Pilot Agricultural Microloan Program from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Rural Finance Authority can be used for working capital (annual costs such as seed, feed, fertilizer, land rent) or equipment and other farm asset purchases with a common useful life of 10 years or less.

The Minnesota Legislature this year appropriated funds to expand the maximum loan amount from $10,000 to $20,000.

“We know that agricultural opportunity is not equally available to all Minnesotans. We also know that there is an urgent need to address the future of farming in Minnesota,” said Assistant Commissioner Patrice Bailey. “We at the MDA are examining how to better support emerging farmers, and this is one more tool we can use to increase our support for farmers who have traditionally faced barriers to the education and resources necessary to succeed.”

Loans are obtained through participating local lenders. Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible:

• Be a resident of Minnesota.

• Be a member of a protected group or a qualified non-citizen as defined under Minnesota statutes.

• Use the funds toward production and marketing of specialty crops or eligible livestock.

• Demonstrate an ability to repay the loan.

For more information and to apply, visit the Pilot Agricultural Microloan Program web page.