In January, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new microloan program designed to help small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans under $35,000. The new microloan program is aimed at bolstering the progress of producers through their start-up years by providing needed resources and helping to increase equity so that farmers may eventually graduate to commercial credit and expand their operations. The microloan program will also provide a less burdensome, more simplified application process in comparison to traditional farm loans.
The Value-Added Agricultural Producer Grants program is designed to encourage independent producers of agricultural commodities to process their raw products into marketable goods. By creating value-added products, farmers and businesses can expand economic opportunities, create jobs and keep wealth in rural communities.