North Dakota farmers and ranchers have received more than $1.7 million in Recovery Act funding through direct operating loans offered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). The funding, made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), improved FSA’s ability to make loans to farmers and ranchers that are unable to obtain commercial credit from a bank.
According to Curt Thoreson, farm loan program chief in FSA’s North Dakota State Office, the additional funding is very timely.
“The Recovery Act dollars gave us another funding option that we never had before,” Thoreson said. “We were able to clear some of the backlog of loans and get money out the door to help ensure our customers’ success.”
FSA’s operating loans are used to purchase livestock, feed, seed and other farm supplies, and also can be used to construct buildings or make other farm improvements.
Tom Grzadzieleski, Jr. is just one of many producers benefitting from the Recovery Act funding In 2009, with FSA’s help, Grzadzieleski started his own farm operation, growing 360 acres of sugar beets and wheat. He hopes to take over his father’s operation one day.
“I like the lifestyle and I like being able to spend time with family,” Grzadzieleski said. But he wasn’t sure how he could take over the farm. “My dad recommended I talk with FSA and I got a lot of help from Curt [Thoreson] in getting the forms filled out.”
This year, Grzadzieleski used FSA loans to double the size of his operation, adding a quarter section of land that has been in the family for generations, He also is working with FSA on another loan application to buy scraping equipment that will make his recent cropland purchase more productive.
By reinvesting and expanding his operation, Grzadzieleski hopes to build a financial history that is attractive to traditional lenders. Linda Werven, farm loan manager in the Pembina County FSA Office, says that’s exactly what FSA is here to do. “We want to get these guys started so they can graduate into the traditional lending market,” she said.