New loans available for small farmers

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Posted at 8:42 AM, Jan 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-15 08:42:00-05

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is announcing new loans of up to $35,000 for those who want to start or expand small farms.

Agriculture Department Secretary Tom Vilsack says the new"microloans" are designed to help bolster family-run farms and help veterans or socially disadvantaged farmers who may otherwise have trouble securing small loans from banks or other USDA programs.

Vilsack will make an official announcement today.

The loans can help farmers seeking to grow organic crops to sell directly to ethnic and farmers markets. Vilsack says they also can help beginning farmers cover startup expenses such as seed, tools, irrigation, fertilizer and delivery vehicles.

The microloan program also provides a more simplified application process in comparison with traditional farm loans.