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Program Description

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers farm ownership loans, both direct and guaranteed, to family farmers and ranchers. These loans can help those who are temporarily unable to get private, commercial credit on their own at reasonable rates and terms.

You may use Farm Ownership Loans to:

  • Buy or expand an existing farm.
  • Build new or improve existing farm structures.
  • Pay closing costs.
  • Pay for soil and water conservation and protection.
  • Refinance certain farm-related debt.

The maximum loan amount for a Direct Farm Ownership Loan is $600,000. No down payment is required; other terms and conditions apply.

Visit the Farm Ownership Loans page for more details.

Under an FSA guaranteed loan, you apply to an agricultural lender. The lender makes and services the loan, and FSA guarantees it against loss up to a maximum of 95%. The FSA guarantee permits lenders to offer credit to farmers who don't meet the normal criteria; certain terms and conditions apply.

Visit the Guaranteed Farm Loans page for more details.

The maximum loan amount for a Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loan is $1,750,000.

To meet the needs of smaller, non-traditional, and niche-type operations, FSA also offers the following:

  • Direct farm ownership Microloans (maximum of $50,000 for each of direct operating and direct farm ownership loans). These are FSA direct loans with a shortened application process and reduced paperwork.
  • Guarantees EZ Guarantee loans (maximum is $100,000).. These are for loans from private lenders.

Visit the Microloans Program and Guaranteed Farm Loans pages for more details.

FSA's mission is not just to provide credit—it's to provide supervised credit. This means FSA works with you to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement in your farming operation. You can learn better business and financial planning that may help guide you toward success.

The goal of FSA's farm loan programs is to help you get to commercial credit in the future. Once you, as a farmer or rancher, are able to get credit from a commercial lender on your own, the agency's farm loan mission is complete.

General Program Requirements

To qualify, you must meet all loan requirements, including those below; other terms and conditions apply:

  • Be a family farmer.
  • Have a satisfactory credit history.
  • For direct loans, have taken part in the business operations of a farm for at least three out of the prior 10 years.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or legal resident alien. This includes Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and certain former Pacific Trust Territories.
  • Be unable to get credit elsewhere at reasonable rates and terms to meet actual needs.
  • Have legal capacity to take on loan obligations.
  • Have no overdue federal debt and have caused no FSA loss through debt forgiveness (certain exceptions apply), and
  • Be the owner-operator of the family farm after loan closing.

Visit the Farm Loan Programs page to learn more about the different FSA loan programs or contact FSA directly.

Application Process

To apply for a Direct Farm Ownership Loan, you must complete application form FSA-2001, Request for Direct Loan Assistance (PDF, 586 KB). Submit this form and all required documentation to your local USDA Service Center or FSA County Office.

Please read the How to Complete an FSA Loan Application (PDF, 164 KB) fact sheet to learn more about the process that also lists other forms to complete.

To apply for a guaranteed loan, talk with your lender. They will make the arrangements.

Last Updated: 09/11/2019