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Program Description

Farm Ownership Loans will help you purchase or enlarge a farm or ranch, construct a new or improve an existing farm or ranch building, pay closing costs, and pay for soil and water conservation and protection.

FSA provides guaranteed and direct loans. Under a guaranteed loan, a commercial lender makes and services the loan, and FSA guarantees it against loss up to a maximum of 95 percent of loan value. For those not yet meeting the qualifications for a loan guarantee from a commercial lender, FSA also makes direct loans, which are serviced by an FSA Official. FSA has the responsibility of providing credit counseling and supervision to its direct borrowers by making a thorough assessment of the farming operation.

General Program Requirements

To qualify for assistance, applicants must meet all loan eligibility requirements including:

  • Be a family farmer;
  • Have a satisfactory history of meeting credit obligations;
  • For direct farm ownership loans, all applicants must have participated in the business operations of a farm for at least three years out of the 10 years prior to the date the application is submitted;
  • Be a citizen, non-citizen national or legal resident alien of the United States, including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and certain former Pacific Trust Territories
  • Be unable to obtain credit elsewhere at reasonable rates and terms to meet actual needs;
  • Possess legal capacity to incur loan obligations;
  • Not be delinquent on a federal debt;
  • Not have caused FSA a loss by receiving debt forgiveness (certain exceptions apply) and;
  • Be the owner-operator of a family farm after loan closing.

Other eligibility criteria apply and can be found on the Farm Service Agency website, on the FSA Farm Loans Guide or by contacting FSA directly.

Loan Terms

Eligible applicants may obtain direct loans up to a maximum indebtedness of $300,000. Maximum indebtedness for guaranteed loans is $1,392,000 (amount adjusted annually for inflation). The maximum repayment term is 40 years for both direct and guaranteed farm ownership loans. In general, loan funds may be used to purchase a farm, enlarge an existing farm, construct new farm buildings and/or improve structures, pay closing costs, and promote soil and water conservation and protection.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.

Application Process

To apply for a direct operating loan, applicants must submit an application form (FSA-2001, "Request for Direct Loan Assistance") and all other required documentation to their local USDA Service Center or FSA County Office. Please follow guidance on "How to Complete an FSA Loan Application" found on the FSA Fact Sheet.

Forms can be located on FSA's Farm Loan Programs Direct Loan Application Forms and Instructions page.

To apply for a guaranteed loan, visit your lender who will arrange for the guarantee.

Program Contact Information

For more information about FSA loan programs, please visit FSA's Farm Loan Programs homepage.

You may also obtain information through your local FSA office or USDA service center. To locate the office nearest you, visit the USDA Service Locator page.

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