Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administered Programs

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

The Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs are new programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. ARC/PLC provides revenue and price loss payments to eligible producers for the 2014 through 2018 crop years. Producers choose one of three program options.

Program participation is tied to growing one of the following crops: barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.

Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loans

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides direct and guaranteed loans to beginning farmers and ranchers who are unable to obtain financing from commercial credit sources. Each fiscal year, the Agency targets a portion of its direct and guaranteed farm ownership (FO) and operating loan (OL) funds to beginning farmers and ranchers.

FSA encourages beginning farmers and ranchers to learn more about the business of aspects of farming or ranching. A list of FSA approved farm business training vendors can be obtained from FSA offices.

Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP)

The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) provides financial assistance to owners and operators of agricultural and non-industrial private forest land who wish to establish, produce, and deliver biomass feedstocks.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

CRP is a voluntary program for agricultural producers to help safeguard environmentally sensitive land. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving vegetation to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion, and enhance wildlife habitat. In return, participants receive 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.).

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a voluntary land retirement program that helps agricultural producers protect environmentally sensitive land, decrease erosion, restore wildlife habitat, and safeguard ground and surface water.

The program is a partnership among producers; tribal, state, and federal governments; and, in some cases, private groups. CREP is an offshoot of the country's largest voluntary environmental improvement program for private lands - the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

CREP in Washington State

The program is tailored in Washington State to meet the State's goals of restoring and enhancing salmon habitat. Through CREP, agricultural landowners can receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving vegetation on eligible land. The Washington Conservation Commission represents the State in the federal-state partnership.

Dairy Margin Protection Program (Dairy-MPP)

The Dairy Margin Protection Program (Dairy-MPP) provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer. This 2014 Farm Bill program replaced the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program.

Debt for Nature Program

The Debt for Nature Program, also known as the Debt Cancellation Conservation Contract Program, is available to persons with FSA loans secured by real estate who may qualify for cancellation of a portion of their FSA indebtedness in exchange for a conservation contract with a term of 50, 30, or 10 years. A conservation contract is a voluntary legal agreement that restricts the type and amount of development and farming practices that may take place on portions of a landowner's property. Contracts may be established on marginal cropland and other environmentally sensitive lands for conservation, recreation, and wildlife purposes.

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP)

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill to provide financial relief to producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish following natural disasters. It covers losses such as those due to blizzards and wildfires, and any losses not adequately covered by other disaster relief programs.

Emergency Conservation Program (ECP)

The Farm Service Agency's Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) provides emergency funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. Funding for ECP is appropriated by Congress.

Emergency Farm Loans

Farm Service Agency loans are available to eligible applicants who have incurred substantial financial losses from a disaster. The maximum outstanding loan amount is $500,000. The statutory authority for emergency loans is section 321 of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (Pub. L. 87-128) (7 U.S.C. 1961).

Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP)

The Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) provides payments to eligible owners of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) land in order to carry out emergency measures to restore land damaged by a natural disaster.

Farm Loans (Direct)

Loans are made directly to farmers and ranchers by the Farm Service Agency with federal funds. FSA also services these loans and provides direct loan customers with supervision and credit counseling so they have a better chance for success. Farm ownership, operating, microloan, emergency and youth loans are the main types of loans available under the Direct Loan program. Direct loan funds are also set aside each year for loans to traditionally underserved, veteran and beginning farmer applicants. To apply for a direct loan, contact a local FSA office. For direct loan interest rates, click here.

Farm Operating Loans (Direct)

The Farm Service Agency makes loans to eligible applicants to assist with the financial costs of operating a farm. The maximum loan amount is $300,000. Producers also have a microloan option which has a streamlined application process and a maximum loan amount of $50,000. A percentage of direct operating loan funds is targeted for beginning farmers as mandated sections 346 and 355 of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (Pub. L. 87-128) (CONACT) (7 U.S.C. 1994 and 7 U.S.C. 2003), respectively. The statutory authority for direct operating loans is section 311 of the CONACT (7 U.S.C. 1911).

Farm Ownership Loans (Direct)

The Farm Service Agency makes loans to eligible applicants to purchase, enlarge, or make capital improvements to family farms, or to promote soil and water conservation and protection. The maximum loan amount is $300,000. A percentage of direct farm ownership loan funds is targeted for beginning farmers and traditionally underserved applicants as mandated by sections 346 and 355 of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (Pub. L. 87-128) (CONACT) (7 U.S.C. 1994 and 7 U.S.C. 2003), respectively. The statutory authority for direct farm ownership loans is section 302 of the CONACT (7 U.S.C. 1922).

Farm Operating and Ownership Loans (Guaranteed)

FSA guaranteed loans provide lenders (e.g., banks, Farm Credit System institutions, credit unions) with a guarantee of up to 95 percent of the loss of principal and interest on a loan. Farmers and ranchers apply to an agricultural lender, which then arranges for the guarantee. The FSA guarantee permits lenders to make agricultural credit available to farmers who do not meet the lender's normal underwriting criteria.

Farm Storage Facility Loan Program

The Farm Service Agency Farm Storage Facility Loan Program (FSFL) provides low-interest financing for producers to build or upgrade farm storage and handling facilities. The agency is authorized to implement the program through USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).

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).

Land Contract (LC) Guarantee Program

The Land Contract Guarantee Program provides a valuable tool to transfer farm real estate to the next generation of farmers. Guarantees will be offered to the owner of a farm who wishes to sell real estate through a land contract to a beginning farmer or a farmer who is a member of a traditionally underserved group. The guarantee provides an incentive to sell to individuals in these groups as it reduces the financial risk to the seller due to buyer default on the contract payments. Guarantees can be used for financing the purchase of a farm with a purchase price up to $500,000. Two types of guarantees are available: a prompt payment guarantee for up to three amortized installments, or a standard guarantee of the unpaid principal.

Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill to provide assistance to livestock producers for forage losses due to drought and losses due to wildfire on public lands.

Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)

The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill to provide assistance to livestock producers for livestock deaths from disaster events, in excess of normal mortality.

Marketing Assistance Loan and Loan Deficiency Payment (LDP) Program

Marketing assistance loans 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 the federal government 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 a loan deficiency payment (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.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)

The Farm Service Agency's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) provides financial assistance to producers of uninsurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occurs due to natural disasters. Producers must purchase NAP coverage prior to a disaster occurring. NAP coverage purchase dates can be found in the important date section on the homepage.

Organic Certification Cost-Share Program

The Organic Certification Cost-Share Program reimburses producers and handlers for a portion of their organic certification costs. fact sheet.

State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE)

The State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) initiative aims to provide wildlife habitat for high value species on private land. The initiative is a state and federal partnership designed to meet state wildlife priorities. It is part of the Farm Service Agency's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and is implemented in cooperation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. SAFE is a voluntary program.

Cooperating landowners receive rental payments, establishment and maintenance cost-share and incentive payments in return for entering a contract to provide specific wildlife habitat.

Transition Incentives Program (TIP)

The Transition Incentives Program provides up to two additional Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) annual rental payments to a retired or retiring owner or operator of land under an expiring CRP contract. The land must be sold or leased to a non-family member beginning or traditionally underserved farmer or rancher for the purpose of returning some or all of the land to production using sustainable grazing or crop production methods.

Tree Assistance Program (TAP)

The Tree Assistance Program (TAP) was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and provides partial reimbursement to orchardists, grape growers and nursery tree growers for replanting, salvage, pruning, debris removal and land preparation. Losses must be due to natural disasters and exceed 15 percent loss of trees or vines.

Youth Loans

The Farm Service Agency makes operating loans of up to $5,000 to eligible individual youths age, 10 through 20, to finance income-producing, agriculture-related projects. A project must be of modest size; educational; and initiated, developed and carried out by rural youths participating in 4-H clubs, FFA or a similar organization.

Payment Limitation Table for All Programs and Definition of Actively Engaged in Farming