Farming microloan set up for vets and ranchers

A tractor in southwest Georgia. / Jessica Fairley

Congressman Sanford D. Bishop Jr. is endorsing a program that set up to give veterans and beginning farmers a shot at starting a business.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will launch a microloan program tomorrow providing a simple and flexible loan process to those who are eligible.

Congressman Bishop is commending the USDA for committing to help farmers and producers succeed.

The loan is for small farmers, veterans, disadvantaged producers and ranchers.

"Over the last eight, nine years we've seen an emergence of a new kind of farmer out there, a new producer. They are direct marketers, farmers market, or organic folks and they don't need as much credit. So we just thought that it was important that we design a loan program that would help those folks get the credit that they needed at an affordable rate," said Chris Beyerhelm, USDA Deputy Administrator of Farm Loan Programs.

The loan can last from on to seven years with a maximum of $35,000 to help fund initial start-up expenses.

Congressman Bishop is an enthusiastic supporter of the USDA's microloan initiatives, and so in his capacity as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, he has advocated for the new loan program.

"The USDA's new microloan program is an excellent, much-needed initiative to assist farmers and rural communities in Southwest Georgia," said Congressman Bishop. "Through programs like this, the USDA has built upon its commitment to helping farmers and producers succeed. It is essential that we invest in new generations of farmers who will maintain our nation's food supply and bolster our economy for the future."