Loans available to young farmers through Department of Agriculture
Applications are now open for young Delaware farmers who want no-interest loans to buy a farm. The program, run by the State Department of Agriculture, began in 2012, but went on a hiatus last year due to a lack of funding.
Now, borrowers will have thirty years to pay off the loans.
The impetus for the loan program came from Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, who wanted to, “preserve the farmer and the farm,” says his Deputy Secretary Austin Short.
"You know, land is not as expensive as it was ten years ago. But it’s still expensive, so if we can find a way through this program to help them get over the hump, so to speak, and you know, buy that initial piece of farmland and get them started, you know, that’s a win."
Land purchased through the program will be put into a farmland preservation easement.
In the past, the average loan amount has been about $240,000.
"Typically it does not provide the entire amount needed to buy the farm, we’ve done 25 loans to date, over the years. And on average the loans provided about half of the purchase price," said Short.
He added that young farmers receiving the state loans often get a regular commercial loan to cover other costs.
The Department of Agriculture has given out 25 loans to date.
The application period runs through October 31.