National Farmers Union (NFU) applauds U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on this week’s announcement of a new microloan program designed to help small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans under $35,000.

“The next generation of family farmers are critical to the continuation of the long tradition of agriculture in our country,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Today’s announcement is a tremendous benefit to those looking to enter into farming.”

According to USDA, the new microloan program is aimed at bolstering the progress of producers through their start-up years by providing needed resources and helping to increase equity so that farmers may eventually graduate to commercial credit and expand their operations. The microloan program will also provide a less burdensome, more simplified application process in comparison to traditional farm loans.

“Beginning farmers and ranchers and veterans will greatly benefit from this program, and a streamlined application process is of great value,” said Johnson. “Access to credit is one of the greatest challenges that beginning farmers and ranchers face, and I commend the department for proposing a common-sense way to help alleviate the problem.”

NFU submitted comments to USDA in July 2012 supporting the creation of a microloan category. You can read those comments on the NFU website.