Farm Credit of the Virginias Launches New Loans for Small and Beginning Farmers ProgramFarm Credit of the Virginias is pleased to announce a new loan program for small and beginning farmers, FarmLaunch. FarmLaunch has been designed to provide startup funding for beginning, small and veteran farmer that may not currently qualify for traditional financing. To learn more, read the following Farm Credit of the Virginias’ Knowledge Center blog post and attached Press Release. For the past century, Farm Credit has been partnering with farmers to help them develop and implement their dreams. Cultivating relationships, providing business solutions, and thinking outside the box have all been a key part of our success over the years. As the agricultural industry continues to evolve and we begin focusing on our next 100 years, we remain just as committed to serving the next generation of producers with loans for small and beginning farmers. Almost two years ago, Farm Credit of the Virginias began looking at ways to better reach and serve beginning, small, minority and veteran farmers. As the average age for farmers today approaches 60, we understand the importance of having a new and diverse group of farmers willing to enter this profession. After many months of research, an exciting new program called FarmLaunch was created to be a resource to these farmers. With the words Invest, Mentor and Educate serving as its foundation, Farm Credit of the Virginias stands ready to partner in launching these creative new business ventures. For many wanting to enter a farming enterprise, securing the proper credit has been a challenge. Undeveloped credit scores, minimal collateral and limited business knowledge can stand as major barriers. FarmLaunch was created as a "second chance" when traditional financing wasn't an option. Our loan officers shared numerous stories of those beginning farmers who had past work experience, strong character, community involvement and outstanding references willing to stand behind them. Unfortunately due to low credit scores or poor capacity, they had to be turned down for a loan. This program aims to take those farmers who fail to qualify under traditional underwriting and turn their dreams into a reality. It also gives special consideration for those individuals who have and are still serving in the armed forces. Besides being eligible for non real estate loans up to $50,000 with a five year payback, the program also comes with a loan officer mentor who is willing to invest time and efforts into their operation. This personal resource will be an invaluable asset to those needing some guidance along the way. The Knowledge Center, which serves as the educational hub within Farm Credit of the Virginias, stands ready to provide information and training to strengthen these business plans. The combination of financing, mentoring and educational opportunities makes for a unique program to launch the dreams of this next generation. For additional information about these loans for small and beginning farmers, interested applicants can check out the Knowledge Center website at www.farmcreditknowledgecenter.com. They can also call 800-919-FARM (3276) or stop by any of our branch offices and speak to a loan officer about the program details. Our Board of Directors has endorsed this new program and is excited to see how our association can assist new producers in building a successful future in farming. As we celebrate our 100th anniversary next summer, we eagerly seek innovative ideas to ensure that we will be around to serve for 100 more.