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FSA targets funds for socially disadvantaged Ga. farmers
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The Georgia State Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced the availability of $9.5 million in direct loan funds for Socially Disadvantaged (SDA) individuals who want to purchase or operate a family-size farm in fiscal year 2010.

In Fiscal year 2009, which ended September 30, 2009, Georgia Farm Loan Programs made 116 direct SDA loans totaling more than $7.3 million.

"The special financing is for people who have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender inequality without regard to their individual qualities. SDA members include women, African Americans, American Indians, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islanders and Alaskan Natives," said Hobby Stripling, State Executive Director of the Georgia Farm Service Agency.

The SDA program provides direct and guaranteed assistance in the form of farm operating and farm ownership loans. Direct loans are made to applicants from FSA. Guaranteed loans are issued by lending institutions, but typically 90 or 95 percent of the loan is guaranteed by FSA.

Operating loans may be used to purchase livestock, equipment, feed, seed, and other business relatedexpenses. Repayment terms run from one to seven years.

Ownership loans provide capital to purchase or enlarge a farm, construct or improve buildings, promote soil and water conservation and pay closing costs. Direct ownership loan terms are up to 40 years. Guaranteed loan terms are established by the lender.

Qualified candidates are provided information and assistance to develop sound management practices, analyze problems and utilize available resources essential for successful farming operations to cope with the changing agricultural environment. SDA loan applicants do not receive automatic approval. Individuals must be U.S. citizens with a satisfactory history of meeting credit obligations; have sufficient education, training or experience managing or operating a farm; possess legal capacity to incur debt; and be unable to obtain credit elsewhere.

Contact your local FSA County Office or USDA service Center for more loan information. You may find the local office phone number listed under the blue or government pages of your local telephone directory.