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Story Archives: Money plans for ag recovery aired
|Money plans for ag recovery aired|
About 15 Franklin Parish farmers were on hand Friday night as state and federal workers explained a new low-interest loan program can help them recover from last year's losses due to heavy rains dropped by hurricane weather.
Under the program, both farmer and agribusiness owners can obtain 1.5 percent interest loans. Farmers will see 20 percent of their loan forgiven as a grant if the program is followed.
Application for the loans, which are made available in a unique arrangement with the State of Louisiana and the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, begins July 13 and runs through August 21.
A pre-application process is required to finalize all loan requests from throughout the state before the first loan to any applicant is issued.
"The goal is to have the checks out by Sept. 1," said Jeremy Hendrix, a marketing specialist with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry.
"To do that," said Sarah Watts of the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Monroe office, "we are willing to come to your farm to help with the process."
The federal and state employees explained the funds will be through the Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority which will serve as a bank.
The loan program, which can be used to pay off existing loans, is based on losses caused from hurricane weather and will not conflict with existing programs, the presenters said.
Hendrix said $34.5 million is available statewide to farmers and $10 million to agribusiness.
Any applicant must borrow a minimum of $10,000 with $100,000 the maximum allowed while agribusiness may borrow up to $250,000. Although the loans are signature only and not collateral based, tax returns must be used to document losses.
Watts explained that farmers can use the funds to recover costs from 2009 planting expenses and crop management and 2009 harvest costs. The loans can also be used to pay off or pay down crop production loans from the period 2007-2009.
The loan introduction meeting was called by the Franklin Parish Police Jury, which is the governing agency responsible for all hurricane recovery projects in the parish.
Those unable to attend the Franklin Parish meeting may contact any state or federal agriculture related agency for references or may call Marion Lee at 435-2185. Information is also available from the Monroe office of LAF at 318 345-7595.