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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Free Webinar: Farm Finance Tools to Help You Manage Risk, June 22, 12-1:30 pm

Farm Finance Tools to Help You Manage Risk

Wednesday June 22, 12-1:30 pm


California FarmLink and CCOF’s farm financial management webinar will get you started (or keep you going) on the right financial track. By the end of the webinar, you will understand:

  • The basics of credit scores and how to improve or establish credit history
  • Different types of agricultural loans, and how a loan might work for you
  • Cash flow management to manage financial risk
  • How to use farm balance sheets and income statements to manage debt
  • The benefits of diversification
  • Business structures and their implications for debt and building equity 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

40 acres for lease for organic vegetabvle farming and pasture near town of Mendocino!

Check this out!

Unique opportunity to lease approximately 30-40 acres (willing to start with 10) for organic vegetable farming and pasture on established 320 acre homestead in the Jackson State Forest. It farm is located 30 minutes from both Mendocino and Ft. Bragg and 10 miles inland from the coast (including 5 miles of dirt road). 280 acres of coastal redwood & Douglas fir with the remainder of the ridge top in open pasture, garden, orchard, berry, 9 buildings (including possible housing).
Ideal situation two couples. This is fully-functional, working farm.

7-10 acres for row crops and the rest is pasture.

Three year lease to start with possibility of 10-year renewable terms.

Monday, May 16, 2016

FSA's Farm Storage Facility Loan Program Expanded!


USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that their Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program can now help finance portable storage structures, portable equipment, and storage and handling trucks in addition to continuing its longstanding capacity to finance stationary crop and cold storage on-farm facilities. This expansion of the low-interest loan program will help FSA better serve fruit and vegetable farmers and others who need to get crops safely and efficiently to local farmers’ markets, schools, restaurants, food hubs, and retail stores.
The loan storage program’s expansion to cover mobile equipment and vehicles came via a federal rulemaking that was published on the Federal Register on Friday, April 29 and becomes effective immediately upon publication.
About Mobile Farm Storage Loans
The new program changes announced this week will allow financing for portable storage structures, portable equipment, and storage and handling trucks under FSA’s Farm Storage Facility Loan Program. Previously, only permanently-affixed and stationary equipment and facilities were eligible for financing under this low interest federal loan program.
Portable storage and handling equipment includes components such as:
  • augers
  • batch dryers
  • bulk tanks
  • conveyors
  • pilers
  • scales
  • storage containers
  • vacuums, and
  • other necessary equipment used to handle and maintain eligible commodities being stored.
This program expansion will allow FSA to better serve all of the financing needs associated with farmers’ storage and handling needs. For example, if a farmer grows primarily fruits and vegetables to sell at local farmers’ markets, that farmer is now able to use a Farm Storage Facility Loan to purchase equipment to weigh vegetables, forklifts to handle the fruits and vegetables, portable storage containers to store fruits and vegetables for short or extended periods of time, as well as a refrigerated truck to transport that stored produce to market.
Eligible portable storage facilities include manufactured storage containers that may be used when transported, hitched, or mounted on a trailer or truck for the purpose of storing and handling eligible commodities.
All mobile storage and handling trucks must be registered with the applicable State Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and all State and local MVA laws, insurance, and title provisions must be adhered to before loan disbursement.
Portable handling equipment includes, but is not limited to:
  • hydraulic self-propelled fork lifts
  • wheel loaders
  • grippers
  • skid steers
  • front-end loader attachments
  • 3-point hitch lifts
Additionally, farmers will now be able to secure financing for both new and used portable storage and handling equipment. Portable used storage and handling equipment have not previously been eligible for an FSFL. Used and portable handling equipment is often less expensive than permanently affixed equipment, which is especially beneficial to smaller farm operations that may have lower gross incomes available to repay these or other farm loans.
New Microloans Available for Farm Storage
In addition to the new eligibility for mobile equipment, the program changes also provide for an easier loan application process with less paperwork for small farm storage loans under $50,000. FSA is still able to make loans of up to $500,000 under the program, but the new “microloan” option might be attractive to small and beginning farmers who may be looking for a smaller loan with less red tape involved. The microloan option will require only a 5 percent down payment versus the 15 percent required for larger loans.
In order to qualify for this new microloan, a producer’s total outstanding balance for all of their outstanding FSFLs must be less than or equal to $50,000 at the time of loan application and disbursement. For example, if a farmer has already secured a FSFL in any amount greater than $50,000, they are ineligible to apply for a microloan until their existing loan is paid off. However, if they have only applied for and received a FSFL in the amount of $20,000, they would be eligible to apply for a $30,000 microloan.
If applying for a FSFL microloan, farmers will be able to self-certify their production history and storage needs, rather than being required to document 3 years of production history by filing an acreage reporting form on an FSA-578 to qualify for a microloan.
This loan requirement modification will hopefully open the program up to more smaller start-up farm operations, which may not be able to meet the existing 3-year production requirement.
The loan terms for farm storage microloans are shorter than larger loans – 3, 5, and 7 years, depending on the amount of the loan. The other loan terms remain the same as other larger farm storage loans. Check out our Grassroots Guide for more details on additional loan requirements.
Continued Improvements to Farm Storage Loans
In the past two years, FSA has made several significant changes to the program to in an attempt to reach more farmers – especially those farmers growing fruits and vegetables and those serving local markets.
For example, in 2014, FSA expanded the program to make packing sheds eligible for financing. This is where fruits and vegetables are washed, sorted, graded, labeled, boxed up, and stored before they head to market.
And in 2015, FSA expanded program eligibility to unprocessed meat and poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, flowers, hops, rye, and aquaculture – products previously not included in the FSFL program. The agency also started to coordinate the storage loan program with other federal farm credit programs, so farmers can put together loan packages more easily to cover a wider range of financing needs.
Those earlier changes did not require a change in federal regulations, but the change announced today to cover mobile structure, equipment, and vehicles and to create a “microloan” option needed to go through the rulemaking process, and hence took a bit longer to bring online.
Visit NSAC’s Grassroots Guide to learn more about loan purposes, eligible commodities, and how to apply.
NSAC issued a press release this morning, stating our support for these recent program changes and applauding FSA for this additional expansion of the program to cover the needs of additional farmers and to help make the program more relevant to local and regional food markets. NSAC has been working with FSA to make these changes to serve the needs of a more diverse range of farm businesses, and we are very pleased with the results.
Coupled with the changes from the past two years, today’s announced expansion of the program will help farmers keep food safe, facilitate new markets, and better serve the expanding customer base for healthy, local and regional food.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Farm Finance Clinic: Planning for Profitability - Tuesday May 3, 3:00-5:30 pm Sebastopol Grange Hall, Sebastopol, CA - Free!

Farm Finance Clinic: Planning for Profitability

When: Tuesday May 3, 3:00-5:30 pm
Where: Sebastopol Grange Hall, Sebastopol, CA

  • Ryan Power, New Family Farm
  • Belle Davis, Farm Service Agency (FSA)
  • Frederick Smith, California Farmlink

Real farm work is not just plowing fields, weeding, and transplanting; farm financial management is essential to establishing and growing a sustainable farm business. Join us for this financial management workshop that will get you started (or keep you going) on the right track.

You will learn about:
  • cash flow management to manage financial risk 
  • how to use farm balance sheets and income statements to manage debt 
  • the benefits of diversification 
  • business structures and their implications for debt and building equity
  • the basics of credit scores and how to improve or establish credit history 
  • different types of agricultural loans, and how a loan might work for you
The workshop is free, but registration is required. To register, click here.

This workshop is being held before the regularly scheduled Sebastopol Farmers Guild meeting and potluck at 6 p.m. So bring some food for the potluck and stay awhile! if you have any questions, please contact Frederick Smith at 831-425-0303 x 7018.

Co-sponsored by California Farmlink and the Farmers Guild

This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2012-49200-20030.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Farm Financial Business Planning Webinar - Thursday April 28

Are you having difficulty finding time for regular financial tasks? Is your farm business running as smoothly as possible?

This webinar is designed to give you the tools to stay on track during the growing season. Join New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and The Carrot Project for a webinar overview of a new Financial Calendar tool. We'll dive into how the tool can help you stay organized with daily, weekly, monthly, and annual tasks. A successful beginning farmer will also be on hand to help you adapt the calendar to your farm's needs and realities and create a personalized financial management calendar for your farm.

Cost: free
Date: Thursday, April 28
Time: 12 pm – 1 pm

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Happy International Women's Day!

Thank goodness for women! Women-owned farms have more than tripled since 1980, and women lead the way in sustainable and organic agriculture.

 Since 2012, 29% of FarmLink's loans were made to women, 27% were made to low-income women, and 22% were made to low-income women of color - totaling well over 1 million dollars! We are honored to be a small part of their stories and support their work!