This post is part of a Microloan Success feature series on the USDA blog. Check back every Tuesday and Thursday as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s Farm Service Agency.
It is often stated that it is hard to start a farm and become a farmer. You do not have to tell that to Anderson Brothers Grain, LLC.
William and Thomas Anderson of Anderson, S.C., are not only brothers but young, beginning farmers. At the ripe old age of 18 and 20, the brothers farm 180 acres of small grains–something they have been doing since 2008 when they were teenagers farming 40 acres with assistance from their father Phil Anderson and grandfather William Martin.
Being that young with little collateral and no credit history proved a challenge for the brothers. They didn’t want to rely on their parents or grandparents to secure financing.
They had enough equipment to plant and harvest their crops, but they were in dire need of additional grain storage to use for the 2013-crop year. A neighboring row crop farmer suggested the brothers contact the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) about a Microloan.
USDA’s Microloan program allows beginning, small and mid-sized farmers to access up to $35,000 in loans using a simplified application process, and up to seven years to repay. USDA is focused on increasing opportunities for farmers and ranchers and has made several modifications to farm loan programs, including making Microloans to beginning farmers and veterans exempt from direct loan term limits.
Within a week, the brothers were able to secure and close a USDA Microloan to purchase a 10,000 bushel grain bin with auger. The grain bin was constructed by end of May, just in time for harvest season.
“With the wet weather this year, had we not had the grain bin, we would have left half our crop in the field,” said William. “The back log at the local gain storage facility caused an eight to 12 hour wait to unload. We would have never gotten all our crop harvested without the additional on farm storage.”
According to William, the grain bin paid for itself this year. Without it they would have lost much more grain due to the tight harvest season. Although the brothers were not entirely happy with the 2013 production, they did manage 61 bushels per acre in a year plagued by wet conditions during harvest time.
“This is a great example of how FSA can fill a need when commercial lenders cannot; and where FSA can facilitate the growing of our nations next generation of farmers,” said Farm Loan Manager Bob Parris.