CHENANGO COUNTY – Start-up and small family-run farms in the county may be eligible to reap the benefits of recent changes to the USDA’s microloan program outlined in the 2014 Federal Farm Bill.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) this week announced that it’s expanding eligibility and increasing lending limits to be more readily available to beginning and family farmers. The initiative allows for an increase in the borrowing limit for the agency’s microloan program from $35,000 to $50,000.
According to the USDA, the lending process for the program will also be simplified by broadening the definition of “farming experience” and expanding eligibility to meet the needs of family-run farms.
This may be good news to Chenango County, where start-up farms are on the rise for the first time in nearly a decade, according to Ken Smith, Executive Director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chenango County.
“Right now, I think the trends are positive for the kinds of farming we do in Chenango County which is all mainly grass based farming,” Smith said. “Dairy is doing well and beef is doing well. Those are our biggest truly ag industries in the county.”