Farm Operating Loans


To enable operators of not larger than family farms through the extension of credit and supervisory assistance, to make efficient use of their land, labor, and other resources, and to establish and maintain financially viable farming and ranching operations.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Farm Service Agency, Department of Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
E - Direct Loans; F - Guaranteed/Insured Loans
Program Accomplishments
Not applicable.
Farm and Rural Development Act, as amended, Subtitle B, Sections 311-317, Public Law 92-419, 7 U.S.C. 1942; Agriculture Act of 1961, Title III, Public Law 87-128
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Public Law 115-334
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Except for youth loans, individual applicants must: (1) Be a citizen of the Untied States, United States non-citizen national, or a qualified alien under applicable Federal immigration laws; (2) have the legal capacity to incur the obligations of the loan; (3) be unable to obtain credit elsewhere or unable to obtain the loan without a guarantee; (4) not have had a previous loan which resulted in a loss to the Agency (with certain conditions); (5) not be delinquent on any federal debt; (6) after the loan is closed, be an owner/tenant operator of a family farm. For an operating loan (OL), the producer must be the operator of a family farm; (7) not have been convicted of crop insurance fraud (in certain circumstances); and (8) not have any controlled substance convictions. In addition, a direct loan applicant must have sufficient education, training, or experience in managing and operating a farm or ranch that demonstrates the managerial ability to succeed in farming. Corporations, cooperatives, joint operations, and partnerships and their members/stakeholders must meet most of these same eligibility requirements, and the entity must also be authorized to operate a farm or ranch in the State where the land is located. To be eligible to obtain a direct loan, a borrower must agree to abide by any "borrower training" requirements. Applicants/borrowers requesting guaranteed loan assistance must meet all lender requirements.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Applicants/borrowers are the direct beneficiaries and must meet the applicant eligibility requirements Families, individuals, and entities who are or plan to become farmers, ranchers or aquaculture operators are the beneficiaries.
Applicants for direct loans must be unable to obtain credit elsewhere and applicants for guaranteed loans must be unable to obtain credit without the guarantee.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is not applicable.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Applicants may apply for direct loans at local FSA offices. If the total outstanding direct operating loan debt combined with direct farm ownership debt will be less than $50,000, it would be considered a direct microloan. Microloans have a seperate application process. Guaranteed loans may be available from local commercial lenders who apply for loan guarantees from FSA.
Award Procedure
FSA determines if the applicant is eligible and reviews the application for repayment ability, security, and compliance with other regulations, approves and obligates the loan.
Not applicable.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Not applicable.
From 30 to 60 days. Applicants for direct and guaranteed loans, may appeal adverse action taken. The applicant is given an opportunity to appeal the decision to the National Appeals Division. The applicant may, in the final step of the appeals process, request a review by the Director, National Appeals Division, Washington, DC.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
Not applicable.
How may assistance be used?
Loan funds may be used to: (1) Purchase livestock, poultry, and other farm animals; (2) purchase farm equipment, feed, seed, fuel, farm chemicals, insurance (3) provide operating expenses for farm enterprise; OL funds can be used to pay for: (4) minor improvements to buildings (5) costs associated with land and water development (6) family subsistence (7) refinance debts under certain conditions and (8) finance youth projects. ( Use restrictions are shown under Applicant Eligibility.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
Records on production, income, expenses during the period of the loan.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Loans are scheduled for repayment over periods up to 7 years, but when justified, loans may be consolidated or rescheduled for up to 15 additional years. The interest rate for guaranteed loans is negotiated between the lender and borrower. The interest rate for direct loans is determined by the Secretary of Agriculture. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Method of awarding/releasing assistance: Lump.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
Consult the appropriate FSA State office where the property is located. For a list of FSA State offices with telephone numbers and addresses, information is available on the internet, visit FSA website at to locate nearest office.
Headquarters Office
Houston Bruck
1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20250 US
Phone: 202-690-0756
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Guaranteed/Insured Loans) FY 18$1,085,291,000.00; FY 19 est $1,960,000,000.00; FY 20 est $1,614,953,000.00; FY 17$1,366,897,000.00; FY 15$1,365,450,000.00; FY 16 est $1,393,443,000.00; - (Direct Loans) FY 18$1,112,835,000.00; FY 19 est $1,530,000,000.00; FY 20 est $1,773,714,000.00; FY 17$1,284,035,000.00; FY 16 est $1,252,004,000.00; FY 15$1,251,216,000.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Direct Farm Operating Loans up to $300,000. ($50,000 total or less is considered a microloan); Guaranteed Farm Operating Loans up to $1,399,000. (Amount adjusted annually.)
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
7 CFR, Part 761, 762, 764. Farm Service Agency Fact Sheets; FSA Handbook 1 FLP, 2 FLP, 3-FLP; Program Aids 1610 "Farm Service Agency Producer's Guide to Loan Programs"; 1620 "Lender's Guide to FSA Loan Programs: FSA Brochure FSA-BR-01 "Your Guide to FSA Farm Loans", above information is available on FSA website
Examples of Funded Projects
Not applicable.


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