WESTERN PRODUCER — Farm Credit Canada is expanding three loan programs available to young or beginning farmers.
“Access to capital is super important,” said Curtis Grainger, FCC’s director of lending products and sustainability.
“Through the young entrepreneur and young farmer loans, it’s really about improving access to capital that allows young people — so whether that’s farm families, producers, business entrepreneurs — to enter the agriculture value chain and grow their business, pursue their dreams, in a really strong and diverse industry.”
The three loans being changed include the young farmer loan, the young entrepreneur loan and the starter loan.
The young farmer loan, aimed at producers younger than 40, has been expanded to a maximum of $1.5 million, up from the previous level of $1 million. The same change has been made to the young entrepreneur loan program, which is for entrepreneurs who pursue an ag-related business.
The starter loan, designed to help people entering the industry, provides up to $150,000. Formerly available to people ages 18 to 25, it is now available to those older than 25 who are new to agriculture.
“Sometimes young people have additional barriers to get into agriculture,” Grainger said, “so these loans kind of help reduce those barriers for young people because whether it’s agriculture or anything else, when you’re starting a business, any reduction in barriers or reduction in fees or interest rates that are available are important because when you’re starting out it’s the hardest, for sure.”
Federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the loan changes Dec. 6.
“Access to capital is one of the biggest challenges for young producers,” she said the following day on Twitter.
“These specialized loans will help the next generation establish themselves and keep Canada a world leader in sustainable agriculture.”
Grainger said the changes are permanent and more information is available from FCC relationship managers.
“We just want to ensure that additional capital is available to young farmers and entrepreneurs and ensuring that the industry continues to remain strong, vibrant and innovative so we can continue to grow in a competitive global market.”