FSA Loans for Young Farmers and Ranchers: Applying Online

The FSA makes loans to young people in many areas engaged in farming and ranching projects. These loans are extended under the "youth" program to farmers and ranchers between 10 and 20 years old. The program helps assure young farmers are not competing with established farmers for the same loan programs. It also helps teach young people the ins and outs of farm financing. If you qualify, you will be eligible for a very low interest loan that has lower requirements than other private loan programs.

Loan Requirements

The basic loan requirements for this type of loan are not heavily financially-oriented. A person of such a young age will not have an established credit history, so a credit report will have less to do with the loan application. The qualifications, though, do depend on age and other eligibility. First, the young farmer or rancher cannot be older than 20 years old. The person must be participating in a 4H (Head, Heart, Hands and Health) or Future Farmers of America program; other local programs may suffice. The applicant's project should be of small to moderate size. Commercial operations will not qualify for this type of loan.

Loan Size

Since these loans are aimed at a young person with smaller goals, the loan limits are also much smaller. You should note: the young farmers and ranchers program is not the same as the beginning farmers and ranchers program. The beginning farmers program is aimed at individuals with at least 3 years experience in the operation of a farm. These direct loans go to those persons who are looking to expand an operation or purchase a farm in order to create a sustainable business. The youth farmers program is truly part of the FSA's outreach to children. It aims to assist children involved in community projects, and therefore the loan sizes are much smaller than the beginning farmer's program.

Applying Online

There are a number of ways to apply for an FSA loan; complete online application is only possible in rare cases, however. You may want to contact your state's branch of the FSA. This branch will be able to tell you about specific loans available in your area and organizations that qualify for the young farmers and ranchers program.

On the FSA website, there are a number of eForms available. If you know the program you are applying to, this site will be able to guide you to the correct forms and allow you to fill them out electronically. This website has the forms available for browsing. Select "Farm Service Agency" under the "Agency Name" portion. Then select "Farm Loan Program" under "Loan Program."

You will likely find the forms for the youth farmers and ranchers program in your area are not available online. These loans are very community based, and it may be the best choice to fill them out in person at your local service center. You can find your local service center by selecting your county from the map that you are directed to from the same eForms website.