Direct Operating Loan

A loan made to an eligible applicant to assist with the financial costs of operating a farm. Maximum loan amount is $300,000. A percentage of direct operating loan funds are targeted for beginning farmers and minority and women farmers.

Fact Sheets:


Microloans are direct farm operating loans with a shortened application process and reduced paperwork designed to meet the needs of smaller, non-traditional, and niche type operations. Apprentice and mentorship programs, non-farm business experience, and farm labor experience are acceptable alternative solutions for helping to meet farm experience and managerial requirements. Maximum loan amount is $50,000.

Fact Sheet:

Direct Farm Ownership Down Payment Loan

FSA has a special loan program to assist minority and women farmers and beginning farmers in purchasing a farm. Retiring farmers may use this program to transfer their land to future generations.

To qualify:

  • The applicant must make a cash down payment of at least 5 percent of the purchase price.
  • The maximum loan amount does not exceed 45 percent of the lesser of (a) the purchase price of the farm or ranch to be acquired; (b) the appraised value of the farm or ranch to be acquired; or (c) $667,000 (Note: This results in a maximum loan amount of $300,000).
  • The term of the loan is 20 years. The interest rate is 4 percent below the direct FO rate, but not lower than 1.5 percent.
  • The remaining balance may be obtained from a commercial lender or private party. FSA can provide up to a 95 percent guarantee if financing is obtained from a commercial lender. Participating lenders do not have to pay a guarantee fee.
  • Financing from participating lenders must have an amortization period of at least 30 years and cannot have a balloon payment due within the first 20 years of the loan.

Fact Sheets:

Direct Farm Ownership Loan

A loan made to eligible applicants to purchase, enlarge, or make capital improvements to family farms, or to promote soil and water conservation and protection. Maximum loan amount is $300,000. A percentage of direct farm ownership loan funds are targeted for beginning farmers and socially disadvantaged applicants.

Fact Sheets:

Emergency Farm Loans

Loans are available to eligible applicants who have incurred substantial financial losses from a disaster. Maximum outstanding loan amount is $500,000.

Emergency Loans Fact Sheet

Youth Loans

Provide operating type loans to eligible rural youth applicants to finance a modest income-producing agricultural project. Maximum loan amount is $5,000.

Youth Loans Fact Sheet

Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loan

A loan made by another lender and guaranteed by FSA to eligible applicants to purchase, enlarge, or make capital improvements to family farms, or to promote soil and water conservation and protection. A percentage of guaranteed farm ownership loan funds are targeted for beginning, minority and women farmers.

Click here for more information on guaranteed loans.

Access the 2-FLP Handbook (scroll down to find the select the handbook from the list).

Guaranteed Operating Loan

A loan made by another lender and guaranteed by FSA to an eligible applicant to assist with the financial costs of operating a farm. A percentage of guaranteed operating loan funds are targeted for beginning, minority and women farmers.

Click here for more information on guaranteed loans.

Land Contract Guarantee Program

Guarantees will be offered to the owner of a farm who wishes to sell real estate through a land contract to a beginning, minority or women farmer. Guarantees can be used for financing the purchase of a farm with a purchase price up to $500,000 on a new land contract. FSA offers two types of guarantees under this program. The seller may request either of the following:

Prompt Payment Guarantee: A guarantee of up to the amount of three amortized annual installments plus the cost of any related real estate taxes and insurance; or

Standard Guarantee: A guarantee of 90 percent of the outstanding principal balance under the land contract.

Land Contract Guarantee Program Fact Sheet

Farm Storage Facility Loan Program

USDA may make loans to producers to store, handle and/or transport eligible commodities they produce. Commodities covered under this storage program are numerous, including corn, grain sorghum, soybeans, oats, wheat, barley, dry peas, lentils, small chickpeas, sunflower seeds, canola, rapeseed, safflower, flaxseed, hay, honey, fruits and vegetables (cold storage facilities), milk, cheese, eggs, meat/poultry (unprocessed) and others.

Go to the link below to learn more about the types of new/used facilities and upgrades that can be funded through this loan option.

Farm Storage Facility Loan Program Fact Sheet


Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP)

Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) provides financial assistance to producers or entities that deliver eligible biomass material to designated biomass conversion facilities for use as heat, power, biobased products or biofuels. Initial assistance will be for the Collection, Harvest, Storage and Transportation (CHST) costs associated with the delivery of eligible materials.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

Provides a voluntary program to agricultural producers to help them safeguard environmentally sensitive land. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion, and enhance wildlife habitat. In return, CCC provides participants rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years. CRP was authorized by section 1231 of the Food Security Act of 1985, as amended (Pub. L. 99-198)(16 U.S.C. 3831, et seq.).

State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE)

To learn about the Nebraska CRP Migratory Birds, Butterflies and Pollinators SAFE, click here.

For information on all the Nebraska SAFE initiatives, contact your local FSA office.

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
  • Central Basins CREP

The Central Basins CREP was terminated on December 31, 2012. All existing CREP contract will remain in effect.

Emergency Conservation Program (ECP)

Provides emergency funding for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by wind erosion, floods, hurricanes, or other natural disasters, and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures during periods of severe drought. The natural disaster must create new conservation problems, which, if not treated, would: impair or endanger the land; materially affect the productive capacity of the land; represent unusual damage which, except for wind erosion, is not the type likely to recur frequently in the same area; and be so costly to repair that Federal assistance is, or will be, required to return the land to productive agricultural use. Authorized by section 401 of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978 (Pub. L. 95-334) (16 U.S.C. 2201 et seq.).

Emergency Conservation Program Fact Sheet

Farmable Wetland Program (FWP)

Farmland Wetlands Program is a voluntary program to restore up to one million acres of U.S. farmable wetlands and associated buffers by improving the lands hydrology and vegetation. Eligible producers can enroll eligible land in FWP through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The FWP is a helpful tool for producers to help protect clean water, control soil erosion and enhance wildlife habitats.

The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 authorized FWP through September 30, 2012 for the enrollment of the following:

  • Certain cropped wetlands and associated buffers
  • Land devoted to constructed wetlands and associated buffers
  • Land devoted to certain commercial pond-raised aquaculture
  • Land subject to the natural overflow of a prairie wetland (Flooded prairie wetland) and associated buffers.

Practices that are authorized for continuous signup enrollment into CRP under FWP are:

  • CP27, FWP Cropped Wetland
  • CP28, FWP Buffer
  • CP39, FWP Constructed Wetland
  • CP40, FWP Aquaculture Wetland Restoration
  • CP41, FWP Flooded Prairie Wetland


Payment Eligibility/Payment Limitation

To be eligible for most FSA program benefits, certain payment eligibility requirements must be met. These include actively engaged in farming, cash rent tenant, substantive change, and commensurate share requirements. Participants are responsible for notifying county offices of any changes in their farming operation from previous years. Entities earning program benefits subject to a limitation must provide FSA the names, addresses, and tax identification numbers of all members.

FSA programs are subject to specific payment limitations and Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) requirements. Payment eligibility and payment limitation rules are outlined at 7 CFR Part 1400.

Payment Eligibility and Payment Limitation Fact Sheet

Adjusted Gross Income Provisions

FSA program benefits are subject to adjusted gross income (AGI) provisions as provided in 7 CFR Part 1400, Subpart F. The average AGI limitation for applicable farm programs is $900,000. The average AGI calculation is based on the 3 taxable years preceding the most immediately preceding complete taxable year of the applicable program year. For example, AGI for 2014 program benefits is calculated using the 2010, 2011, and 2012 tax years. AGI provisions are applicable to most all types of participants who request program benefits, including individuals, trusts, and legal entities. AGI compliance also applies to all those who are indirectly attributed payments, including members of entities, grantors of revocable trusts, and beneficiaries of irrevocable trusts or estates.

All participants, including indirect participants, are required to certify their AGI compliance using form CCC-941. Once a certification is completed, the filer is subject to spot check and FSA may request certain documents be provided to verify compliance with AGI provisions.

Average Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Fact Sheet

Acreage Reporting

Producers participating in most FSA programs are required to report all acres to be eligible for benefits. All cropland and non-cropland acres should be reported, as well as initial, failed, prevented planted and subsequently planted crops. Producers are encouraged to report crops timely. If acres are reported after the applicable acreage reporting deadline, a late-filed report may be accepted. A field visit must be conducted to verify the crop and late file fees will be assessed.

Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) Programs

ARC and PLC are new programs that were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. PLC protects against price decline only, when the marketing year average price (national) drops below a crop’s “reference price”. ARC is a program that provides revenue protection against losses to both yield and price. It is designed to protect that portion of revenue not generally covered by crop insurance (between 76%-86% of expected revenue). ARC can be elected at the county level, using county average yields and national price (ARC-CO), or the individual level, using individual farm yields and national price (ARC-IC). ARC-CO losses are evaluated for individual covered commodity crops, while ARC-IC provides a “whole farm” protection, combining expected and actual revenues from all crops to determine whether or not a loss occurred. Eligibility for both PLC and ARC-CO payments is dependent upon a farm having crop specific base acres for the crop(s) that suffers a loss in a specific year.

Additional information on the ARC and PLC programs is available at

ARC and PLC Fact Sheet

Conservation Compliance – Highly Erodible Land and Wetlands

Compliance with Highly Erodible Lands Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions continues as an eligibility requirement for FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs. With passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, conservation compliance is now also required to remain eligible for your crop insurance premium subsidy. Premium subsidies account for approximately 65% of the total premium of a crop insurance policy.

In order to maintain HELC compliance, producers must farm highly-erodible land using an approved conservation plan or system. This likely includes the use of no-till rotations and cover crops. Waterways and other structural practices may also be necessary to minimize soil loss and formation of ephemeral gullies. Wetland Conservation provisions restrict producers from altering, draining, manipulating, or otherwise converting a wetland. Such activities can result in multiple years of ineligibility for program benefits depending on when the wetland was converted and when it was restored or mitigated. It is critical that landowners and producers contact FSA to file an AD-1026 prior to sod busting new land, clearing trees or stumps, creating or altering drainage, or conducting land leveling or filling. This will allow NRCS to evaluate the proposed activities to determine any potential impacts on compliance prior to work being conducted and help avoid ineligibility for applicable USDA program benefits.

Specific to premium subsidy eligibility, producers must maintain compliance with HELC provisions starting with the 2015 crop year. Producers must also not convert wetlands after February 7, 2014. Conversions that occurred before February 7, 2014 still impact FSA and NRCS program eligibility. In addition to meeting the above criteria, producers who participate in crop insurance programs must have an AD-1026 on file with FSA prior to June 1 preceding the reinsurance year in which premium subsidy eligibility is being sought. Example: AD-1026 must be on file by June 1, 2016 for producer seeking to insure crops and receive premium subsidy for crops insured in the 2017 reinsurance year from July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017.

Conservation Compliance Fact Sheet


Nonrecourse Marketing Assistance Loan and Loan Deficiency Payment (LDP) Program

Provide producers interim financing at harvest time to meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are typically at harvest-time lows. Allowing producers to store production at harvest facilitates more orderly marketing of commodities throughout the year. Marketing assistance loans for covered commodities are nonrecourse because the commodities are pledged as loan collateral and producers have the option of delivering the pledged collateral to CCC as full payment for the loan at maturity.

A producer who is eligible to obtain a loan, but who agrees to forgo the loan, may obtain an LDP. The LDP rate equals the amount by which the applicable loan rate where the commodity is stored exceeds the alternative loan repayment rate for the respective commodity.

MAL and LDP Fact Sheet


Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)

Provides financial assistance to eligible producers affected by drought, flood, hurricane, or other natural disasters. This federally funded program covers noninsurable crop losses and planting prevented by disasters. Producers who are landowners, tenants, or sharecroppers who share in the risk of producing an eligible crop are eligible. Eligible crops include commercial crops and other agricultural commodities produced for food (including livestock feed) or fiber for which the catastrophic level of crop insurance is unavailable. Also eligible for NAP coverage are controlled-environment crops (mushrooms and floriculture), specialty crops (honey and maple sap), and value loss crops (aquaculture, Christmas trees, ginseng, ornamental nursery, and turfgrass sod). Authorized by section 196 of the Agricultural Market Transition Act (Pub. L. 104-127) (7 U.S.C. 7333), as amended.

NAP Fact Sheet

Livestock Forage Program (LFP)

This program provides financial assistance to eligible livestock producers who suffered grazing losses due to a qualifying drought or fire on federally managed lands after January 1, 2008, and before October 1, 2011, during the calendar year in which the loss occurs. For drought, the losses must have occurred on land that is native or improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or a forage or small grain crop planted specifically for grazing for covered livestock due to a qualifying drought during the normal grazing period for the specific type of grazing land in the county. For fire, LFP provides payments to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses on rangeland managed by a federal agency if the eligible livestock producer is prohibited by the federal agency from grazing the normal permitted livestock on the managed rangeland due to a qualifying fire.

Eligible livestock under LFP include beef cattle, alpacas, buffalo, beefalo, dairy cattle, deer, elk, emus, equine, goats, llamas, poultry, reindeer, sheep and swine. For losses due to drought, qualifying drought ratings are determined using the U.S. Drought Monitor located at

LFP Fact Sheet

Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)

The Livestock Indemnity Program issued regulations at 7 CFR Part 760 will provide a payment to livestock producers with a farming/ranching interest who incurred eligible livestock death losses due to adverse weather events on or after January 1, 2008 through October 1, 2011. The sign up for the UDSA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) started on July 13, 2009.

Losses because of adverse weather events, such as blizzards, tornado, lightning, extreme cold, extreme heat, and wildfires, will be eligible for LIP. Producers who suffer livestock losses due to adverse weather that exceed normal mortality will be required to provide documentation of the livestock lost.

To qualify for LIP, producers need to be aware of the following signup dates:

  • Producers that suffered livestock losses in the 2008 calendar year have until September 13, 2009 to file notice of loss and application for payment for LIP at their local FSA Office.
  • Producers suffering losses from January 1, 2009 to July 13, 2009, must file a loss application by September 13, 2009. The final date to submit an application for payment for 2009 losses is January 30, 2010.
  • For livestock losses that occur after July 13, 2009, producers will have 30 days after the death to file a notice of loss at FSA and will have until January 30, of the next calendar year to apply for payment.

Adequate documentation must prove the death of eligible livestock occurred as a direct result of an eligible adverse weather event in the calendar year for which benefits are being requested. If adequate verifiable proof of death records documentation is not available, a livestock producer may provide reliable records, along with verifiable beginning and ending inventory, as proof of death.

Certifications of livestock deaths by third parties, who are not affiliated with the farming operation, may be accepted only if verifiable records or reliable proof of death records are not available. Verifiable beginning and ending inventory records are still required.

Eligible Livestock are as follows:

  • Adult/non-adult beef cattle
  • Adult/non-adult dairy cattle
  • Adult/non-adult buffalo/beefalo
  • Elk
  • Reindeer
  • Deer
  • Sheep
  • Alpacas
  • Emus
  • Swine
  • Goats
  • Llamas
  • Poultry
  • Equine maintained for commercial use as part of the farming operation

LIP Fact Sheet

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm Raised Fish Program (ELAP)

The program is designed to aid in the reduction of losses not covered under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE), Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), Tree Assistance Program (TAP) and the Livestock Forage Program (LFP). Eligible producer of livestock that would normally be grazing, honey bees, and farm-raised fish may receive assistance for losses that occur on or after January 1, 2008 and before October 1, 2011 resulting from an eligible loss event. Producers may receive assistance for grazing losses, feed losses, additional feed costs, and death losses of honeybees and farm-raised fish.

Producers must file a notice of loss within 30 days after the loss event. The ELAP application and all supporting documentation must be filed no later than January 30 of the year following the year of loss.

ELAP – Honey Fact Sheet
ELAP – Farm Raised Fish Fact Sheet
ELAP – Livestock Fact Sheet

Indian Tribal Land Acquisition Program

A loan available to Indian tribes for purchasing privately held lands within their respective reservations boundaries. The statutory authority for Indian Tribal Land Acquisition loans is Pub. L. 91-229 (25 U.S.C 490).

Agriculture Mediation Program

Helps agricultural producers, their lenders, and other persons directly affected by the actions of USDA resolve disputes. Through mediation, a trained, impartial person (mediator) helps participants review their conflicts, identify options, and agree on solutions. Mediation is a valuable tool for settling disputes in many different USDA program areas. These include farm loans, farm and conservation programs, wetland determinations, rural water loan programs, grazing on national forest system lands, and pesticides usage. The program is authorized through 2005 by the Agricultural Credit Act of 1987 (Pub. L. 100-233) (7 U.S.C. 5101 (5104), as amended by the Grain Standards and Warehouse Improvement Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-372).

Agriculture Mediation Program Fact Sheet