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USDA targets loans for women, minority farmers

September 25, 2007

Women and minority farmers interested in buying and operating family-sized farms may be eligible for loans from USDA's Farm Service Agency, an FSA official said.

The agency wants to promote "greater involvement in farming and ranching by women and minorities," said J. Alan Young IV, FSA's farm loan manager in Washington County.

"Each year, we reserve a portion of our farm loan funds especially for socially disadvantaged applicants."

The loans available to women and minorities are the same as those for other borrowers, as are the eligibility requirements, Young said.

He said applicants must be primarily and directly engaged in farming and ranching on family-size operations.

He said applicants for this program must meet all requirements for FSA's regular farm loan program assistance, including:

Have a satisfactory history of meeting credit obligations;

Have sufficient education, experience and/or training that indicates the managerial ability to assure reasonable prospects of success;

Be a citizen of the United States (or a legal resident alien), including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and certain former Pacific Island Trust Territories;

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Be unable to obtain credit elsewhere at reasonable rates and terms to meet actual needs; and

Possess legal capacity to incur loan obligations.

FSA said it defines a socially disadvantaged applicant as one of a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of his or her identity as members of the group without regard to his or her individual qualities. For purposes of this program, socially disadvantaged groups are women, African Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

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