Published May 6, 2016

Farm Storage Loan Now Includes Mobile Storage, Helps New and Small Farms

By Steve Carlson

The Farm Service Agency recently announced some changes to their Farm Storage Facility Loan Program that should benefit small and beginning local food producers. The FSFL program was initially launched in 2000 to serve commodity crops, and has undergone many changes since then to help diversified, small-scale, and beginning farmers expand their businesses.

See NSAC's FSFL handout for quick details

See NSAC’s FSFL handout for quick details

The loan can now be used to build, upgrade, or purchase on-farm or mobile storage, packing, washing, and handling facilities. This includes:

  • Packing sheds
  • Walk-in coolers
  • Graders, sorters, conveyors and washers
  • Portable storage and handling trucks or facilities
  • Portable storage and handling equipment, such as augers, dryers, bulk tanks, scales, containers, fork lifts, skid steers etc.
  • Used equipment

Another major update to the program is the microloan option, which includes:

  • Streamlined application for microloans up to $50,000
  • Requires only a 5% down payment
  • The ability to self-certify production history and storage needs
  • A possibility to waive the crop insurance requirement, specifically for CSA’s (see the USDA blog for an example)

Crops that are eligible for coverage include:

  • Grains, pulses and other commodities
  • Fruits and nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Honey and maple syrup
  • Dairy products
  • Meat, poultry and eggs
  • Hay and biomass
  • Flowers and hops
  • Aquaculture

For further details on the Farm Storage Facility Loan Program, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition website for a guide covering how the program works, to determine your eligibility, and for details on how to apply. Visit your local FSA office to discuss eligibility and submit an application.