Guaranteed Conservation Loans

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA)

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FSA Loans

There are four main types of FSA loans: farm ownership, farm operating loans and microloans, emergency farm loans, and guaranteed farm loans (including conservation loans). While a borrower may qualify for one or any combination of these loans, the focus here will be on guaranteed farm ownership conservation loans.

Guaranteed Loans

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers a guaranteed loan program which assists farmers and other agricultural operators who would not normally qualify for standard commercial loans. This program is especially useful for beginning farmers and farmers experiencing economic or disaster related problems.  Guaranteed loans are either farm ownership loans for purchase or development of farmland or farm operating loans for purchase of farm livestock, machinery, supplies, and insurance.

Guaranteed loans are not FSA loans;  rather, they are the property and responsibility of the lender. No taxpayer money is used for the guaranteed loan program, other than for administrative services or in the event of a loan failure. In that case, the lender will suffer a loss and the FSA will reimburse the lender with Federal funds up to an agreed percentage.

Conservation Loans

Conservation loans are a type of guaranteed farm ownership loan can be used to implement qualifying conservation projects for farmland development.  The limit of a conservation loan is  $1.392 million for 2015 and this cap is adjusted for inflation annually. Loan terms may not exceed 40 years for guaranteed farm ownership loans.

Qualifying projects are usually any Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) approved conservation practice or Forestry Management Plan. Some examples are water conservation measures and waste management systems.  Each county has a NRCS Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG), which may be of use when researching approved conservation practices.  These guides provide NRCS approved technical information on general references, soil and site information, conservation management systems, practice standards and specifications, and conservation effects tailored to each county.

Qualifications  for  Guaranteed Conservation Loan applicants can be found on the FSA Farm Loan Program (FLP) website. In additional to FLP loan criteria, farmers must be in compliance with the highly erodible land conservation and wetland conservation provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill (Form AD-1026).

Program Page

Getting Started:

  • Consult with you financial adviser prior to beginning this process.  There are many nuances of this program that should be reviewed to determine if guaranteed conservation loans are right for you.
  • For questions or to submit an application, visit your local USDA FSA office:

USDA Service Center Locatortop

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