Young or Beginning & Small Farmer Programs
SmartStart Program - Stimulating Success with Young or Beginning & Small Farmers
Joining or beginning a farming operation can be challenging. At AgChoice Farm Credit, we understand that the needs of young or beginning and small farmers are unique. Limited experience and financial resources will often turn lenders away, but AgChoice wants to work with farmers to cultivate a strong future for their businesses and the agriculture industry as a whole.
Let AgChoice help you take a step in the right direction with our SmartStart program. You will:
- Participate in educational programs
- Enhance your business management skills
- Make your operation more successful
- Earn a reduced interest rate
You might be wondering if this program applies to you. You are eligible for SmartStart if you live in AgChoice's territory and fit one of the criteria below:
- A young farmer. A borrower who is 35 years old or younger.
- A beginning and small farmer. A borrower with 10 years or less farming experience and whose annual gross agricultural sales total less than $250,000.
Sign up today and begin earning SmartStart credits and taking advantage of the other special incentives available to you. You will receive a quarterly SmartStart e-newsletter, keeping you updated on program details and upcoming events that qualify for SmartStart credits.
It's great that AgChoice looks out for young and beginning farmers. The reduced interest rate is a big help, especially when starting a new operation.
Ryan & Jennifer
How does SmartStart work?
SmartStart allows young or beginner and small farmers to earn interest rate reductions on their term and operating loans through AgChoice Farm Credit by earning educational credits. Qualifying educational programs include but are not limited to:
- AgChoice-sponsored programs
- Outside programs offered by:
- Chambers of Commerce
- Extension organizations
- Industry organizations
- SCORE and other business trainers
- Universities and community colleges
You are encouraged to attend educational programs of your choice. Eligible topics include financial management, business or production management, business planning and succession planning.
Once you are registered for the SmartStart program, you will work closely with your AgChoice loan officer or local branch office to record the educational programs that you attended. A certain credit amount will be assigned according to the duration of the program and what each program entails. Your credits accumulate over the two most recent years and result in the following interest rate reductions on a new loan:
- 0 to 4 credits = 0.25% interest rate reduction for three years
- 5 to 9 credits = 0.50% interest rate reduction for three years
- 10+ credits = 0.75% interest rate reduction for five years
Other benefits available from AgChoice
There are many other special incentives given to our YBS farmers. Call your loan officer or local branch office to learn how you may receive these added benefits:
Recordkeeping and Tax Services: AgChoice may pay up to $250 towards the first year's cost of recordkeeping/tax services for young or beginning and small farmer customers who use qualified accounting services familiar with agricultural businesses.
Business Management Services: AgChoice may waive up to $250 towards the initial consultation meeting with a qualified wealth management advisor or business consultant.
Appraisal Fee: All fees associated with one AgChoice appraisal completed for credit purposes or one AgChoice fee appraisal completed within two years of loan closing, may be waived.
FSA or Other Governmental Guaranteed Loan Fee(s): AgChoice may pay the initial year's fees incurred in conjunction with a FSA or other governmental loan guarantee.
Beginning Farmer Loan Program: Applicants who are seeking financing through Pennsylvania's Next Generation Farmer Loan Program may be eligible to receive interest rate reductions through this program. (This program cannot be used in conjunction with SmartStart.)
How do you begin SmartStart?
Let AgChoice help you take a step in the right direction. with our SmartStart program! Register for SmartStart today by completing the SmartStart registration form. As you begin attending trainings and workshops that may qualify for SmartStart credits, complete the SmartStart application for credit.
Other helpful resources
AgChoice has specially-designed forms to help young or beginning and small farmers build strong businesses. Check out our templates for:
- Sample Business Plan (DOC, 38k)
- Balance Sheet & Income Statement with Projections Form (XLS, 218)
AgChoice is also a supporter of the new AgBiz Masters program, a learning series for young and beginning farmers that teaches business and financial management skills through a blended learning approach. Learn more about AgBiz Masters by visiting www.AgBizMasters.com.