How to Get the Right Kind of Loan When Starting Out as a Young, Beginning, or Small Farmer

How to Get the Right Kind of Loan When Starting Out as a Young, Beginning, or Small Farmer

Agricultural producers face a variety and significant number of challenges Including high input costs, volatility in commodity prices, natural disasters such as hurricanes or flooding, availability of resources, such as a skilled labor workforce, and more. Like all farmers, young, beginning and small (YBS) farmers also face these challenges. Therefore, it is imperative that all agricultural producers, including those considered YBS, have a trusted financial partner that understands the volatility of agriculture. Farm Credit is committed to the future of every agricultural farmer and rural community. Every year, we support thousands of beginning farmers, and help them find the path that helps bring their passion to life.

YBS Farmers: Who Are They?

  • Young Farmer: A farmer, rancher, or producer who is age 35 years of age or less.
  • Beginning Farmer: A farmer, rancher, or producer who has been farming for 10 years or less.
  • Small Farmer: A farmer, rancher, or producer that generates less than $250,000 in annual gross farm sales.

Why is There a Need for Young, Beginning, and Small Farmer Financing?

In the United States, there are over two million farmers and ranchers. The average age of a farmer is 58 years old. In other words, this generation of agricultural producers will retire or transition over the next 20 years. Keeping the industry alive and thriving requires ways to attract and retain young farmers.

One way to do this is by providing educational opportunities and financial support for small, beginning, and young farmers in order for them to buy into an existing operation, purchase land, equipment, or start their own operation as they have always dreamed.

As all agricultural producers, young, beginning, and small farmers are also at the forefront of change in farming practices. Each desire to leave the land and world better than it was when they started within agriculture, ensuring their farm utilizes smart farming practices and sustainability, while providing a safe and affordable food supply to consumers.

The Future of Agriculture and What That Role Is for Young, Beginning, and Small Farmers

Despite challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Farm Credit loans to young, beginning, and small farmers reached an all-time high in 2020. “In the midst of a pandemic, Farm Credit leaned into its mission and strengthened its support for young, beginning, and small farmers and ranchers. The commitment Farm Credit lenders make to YBS farmers and ranchers does not waver, in good years or bad. It’s a critical part of our mission, and we’re dedicated to fulfilling it regardless of a pandemic, low commodity prices, challenging trade environments or anything else,” said Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose. “Across all 50 states and Puerto Rico, Farm Credit lenders work alongside YBS farmers, think through individual business plans and develop the appropriate financing for each operation.”  

Contact a loan officer to learn more about our YBS loans and educational programs. Visit to learn more!