‘YOU’ are the Reason the USDA Supports Alternative Farming

The United States Department of Agriculture has a myriad of programs to assist many different individuals. From housing to farm loans, the department exhausts all efforts to make opportunities available. In the core of it all is you, the USDA wants to support you.

The USDA’s mission is to provide ‘leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.’

We will put alternative farming in the spotlight. In the general sense, it is defined as a holistic endeavor, where the farm family’s attitude and lifestyle intertwine with the other components of the farm system. One good example of an alternative farming method is Agroecology. This is the utilization of farming approaches to mimic natural ecosystems to produce more food with fewer resources.

The Agriculture Department provides support for small farmers and those who are underserved with various grants and loans. Aside from federal aids and resources, there is also financial support coming from state and local agencies and from non-government institutions. In the end, the goal is to empower farmers, beginner or experienced. There are also funding intended to aid research and studies centered on agriculture.

USDA Financing

One of the FSA’s guaranteed farming loan programs is the EZ loan. This works similarly with other federally-guaranteed loans. The loan is originated, funded and serviced by a commercial bank or lender. The USDA, through the FSA, insures the loan so that the risk is lower.

With the EZ loan, the farmer can borrow up to $100,000 with no minimum borrowing amount. One great advantage of the EZ loan is that the loan application process is streamlined. This means that it is quicker than the regular guaranteed farm loan from the USDA. the money can be used for the purchase of a farm or for expenses in running it.

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There is also the Mircoloan Program which offers a maximum borrowing amount of $50,000. Just like the EZ loan, there is no minimum borrowing amount for this microloan. It comes with two types, Farm Ownership and Farm Operating. The microloan, however, is owned, funded and serviced by the FSA. The fund can be used on hydroponics, aquaponics, vertical or urban gardening and others.

There are also targeted loan programs intended to assist underserved groups like the minorities, the youth, and women. These are the Minority and Women Farmers Loan, the Youth Loans, and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loan. This diversifies the financial assistance that the agency provides. It also aims to reach out to these certain farming groups.

The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center

The USDA, through the FSA, opens doors for farming opportunities. The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center was created to act as a central directory for resources and opportunities for farmers and agricultural producers. Discover many possibilities through this information center accessible through the agency’s website.

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