Young farmers loan program seeks applicants

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Delaware farmers, between 18 and 40, have the opportunity to apply for the Young Farmers Loan Program through November 30. The program provides long-term, no-interest loans to help eligible farmers purchase land, reducing the financial impact on farmers just starting out or looking to expand.

“The Young Farmers Loan Program is a powerful commitment to young people entering agriculture that Delaware stands behind them, and supports their goals and dreams. This investment will strengthen Delaware’s economic future and pay off for decades to come,” said Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse.

Applicants must have at least three years of farming experience, and their net worth must not exceed $300,000.

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Eligible farms must contain at least 15 acres of cropland and must not be enrolled in a conservation easement at the time of purchase. The 30-year, no interest loans may fund up to 70 percent of the value of a property’s development rights, defined as the difference between full market value and agricultural value, up to a maximum of $500,000.

Delaware’s Young Farmers Loan Program began in 2011 to help lower barriers to young people wanting to get started in farming. Thirty-three farmers have purchased land so far in all three counties, totaling 2,500 acres of farmland using $7.4 million in loans. That includes both individual farmers and couples, all seeking to purchase new land or expand their existing farms. Land purchased through the program is permanently preserved through the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation.

Thirty-three farmers have purchased land so far in all three counties, totaling 2,500 acres of farmland using $7.4 million in loans. That includes both individual farmers and couples, all seeking to purchase new land or expand their existing farms. Land purchased through the program is permanently preserved through the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation.

Interested applicants can visit the Department of Agriculture website, dda.delaware.gov, for an information and application packet, or contact Deputy Secretary Austin Short at 302-698-4500 or austin.short@state.de.us.

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