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USDA Announces Streamlined Guaranteed Loans and Additional Lender Category for Small-Scale Operators
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of a streamlined version of USDA guaranteed loans, which are tailored for smaller scale farms and urban producers. The program, called EZ Guarantee Loans, uses a simplified application process to help beginning, small, underserved and family farmers and ranchers apply for loans of up to $100,000 from USDA-approved lenders to purchase farmland or finance agricultural operations. EZ Guarantee Loans offer low interest rates and terms up to seven years for financing operating expenses and 40 years for financing the purchase of farm real estate. USDA-approved lenders can issue these loans with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) guaranteeing the loan up to 95 percent. USDA is providing a 90-day period for the public to review and comment on program improvements. To review program details, visit www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions to submit comments.

Hudson Valley Farmlink Network Farmland Access and Transfer Assistance Stipend
The purpose of the stipend is to support Hudson Valley farmers in hiring professional advisor services to gain secure access to farmland, develop or implement farmland transfer plans, and/or conserve their farms for agricultural use. Stipends are available for up to $1,500 per project. A project may involve an individual farmer, a farm family, or a group of farmers with a cooperative business. Eligible activities may include, but are not limited to: hiring attorney services to develop a farm lease, hiring a financial planner or attorney to assist with a farm transfer plan, and/or paying for transactional costs related to purchasing a farm or developing a conservation easement. Contact Tim Biello for more details and to apply.

Conservation Stewardship Program (NRCS)
Eligible lands include private and Tribal agricultural lands, cropland, grassland, pastureland, rangeland and nonindustrial private forest land.  Applicants may include individuals, legal entities, joint operations or Indian tribes that meet the stewardship threshold for at least two priority resource concerns when they apply. They must also agree to meet or exceed the stewardship threshold for at least one additional priority resource concern by the end of the contract.


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