Pennsylvania Relaunches Farmer Loan Program | State

(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania officials have relaunched the Agriculture-Linked Investment Program to provide low-interest loans to farmers in the state to implement best management practices.

The program, commonly known as Agri-Link, is open to farmers in all 67 counties in the state for loans of up to $ 250,000 with a maximum term of 12 years.

“Giving our farmers access to these affordable loans once again will help support farming operations in all corners of the Commonwealth,” said Pennsylvania State Treasurer Stacy Garrity. “Agriculture is one of the main engines of our state’s economy, and this support will enable farmers to implement new innovative practices.

Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry directly employs more than 300,000 people, the Wolf administration said, while nearly 300,000 other jobs depend on the industry, which has a total economic impact of $ 132.5 billion across the state.

“Recognizing the important role that the Pennsylvania farming community – as the primary industry in the Commonwealth – plays in our state and local economies, we have come together in a bipartisan fashion to pass the Pennsylvania Farm Bill (Law 39 of 2019),” a said state senator Elder Elder. Vogel, R-Beaver, Chairman of Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs. “The Agri-Link program provides targeted financial support to efforts to improve or expand best management practices on state farms. These low-interest loans give these farms a short-term boost that will hopefully translate into long-term benefits for Pennsylvania agriculture and our state’s economic future.

A previous version of the Agri-Link program was discontinued over ten years ago, but the program was reactivated by Law 39 of 2019. The law allows the National Conservation Commission (SCC) of the Ministry of Agriculture to subsidize eligible loans with an annual General Assembly credit, which totaled $ 500,000 for that year.

“The Consolidated Revenue Fund will pay the lending institution the full value of the eligible Agri-Link loan. The borrower’s interest rate is reduced by a grant provided by the CCS, ”according to a Treasury statement. “Borrowers repay principal and interest to their lenders, and the Treasury receives principal and interest every six months during the term of the loan from the depository institution. “

“Our farmers work hard to feed our nation, and they do it while navigating many complex regulations and mandates,” said State Representative Rich Irvin, R-Huntingdon, author of the legislation to revive Agri- Link. “I am happy to see Agri-Link relaunched to help provide financial assistance to farmers who want to follow established best management practices but lack funds for implementation. “

Farmers interested in the program can apply through local lenders or through an agricultural credit service institution. County Conservation Districts and CSC review applications to determine eligibility. Eligible projects must include best management practices in an approved nutrient, manure, agricultural erosion and sediment management plan, or other federal or state conservation plan approved by the SCC. Best management practices include things like crop rotation, reducing runoff in barnyards and feedlots, and testing soil or manure.

“Programs that help farmers fund conservation improvements allow us to do even more to protect the land, local waterways and other natural resources,” said Pennsylvania Farm Bureau president Rick Ebert. “Farmers are leaders in environmental stewardship and want to build on our efforts. But few farms have the resources available to finance these initiatives themselves.

“Public investments in farm conservation play a crucial role in helping farmers make improvements that benefit both our farms and our communities,” he said.

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