FCC offers up new Starter Loans

“Preferential” loan rates are available to young farmers or agribusinesspeople planning start-ups through a new Farm Credit Canada lending program.

Lawrence MacAulay, addressing the Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s annual meeting Wednesday in Ottawa when he was still federal minister of agriculture, unveiled the federal ag lending agency’s new Starter Loan Program.

The program, according to FCC’s website, is earmarked for applicants between the ages of 18 and 25, “to build your credit history and gain independence with your own loan to purchase livestock, equipment or shares in a company.”

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The Starter Loan Program offers loans of up to $50,000 at “preferential rates, with no fees” for both primary producers and agri-businesses.

The program “shows our commitment to supporting our customers throughout their lifetime,” FCC CEO Michael Hoffort said in the federal government’s release Wednesday.

“A young borrower may have the goal of starting a cattle herd or purchasing some quota. Another may take their entrepreneurial vision to the next level with a vertical farming system or decide to purchase their first piece of equipment. It’s a start to a lifetime of possibilities.”

Outgoing CFA president Ron Bonnett hailed the announcement in a separate release, noting that “starting a farming operation has huge capital costs and an intense burden of knowledge.”

Farm operations are usually “a generational business, often passed down through families with succession plans for children that want to follow in their parent’s footsteps,” he said, but “not all aspiring farmers have that kind of support or knowledge to draw from.”

Coupled with the Starter Loan Program, the CFA noted, FCC is offering AgExpert Accounting Premium, its farm management software, for free, “with the intent that young borrowers can have the financial independence and knowledge they need while establishing a solid credit history.”

Interested applicants are asked to contact their local FCC office for more information. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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