by BETTER FARMING STAFF
Ontario and Quebec’s Canadian Young Farmers Forum representative says a new Farm Credit Canada loan program with a $500,000 ceiling is a “great initiative” that recognizes “young farmers are vital to the success of agriculture in the future.”
Jessica Burgess, 23, from Bruce County, says she’d like to eventually take over the family dairy operation but with the costs of quota and land prices “I don’t know if it’s going to be viable for myself to do that as an individual.” The young farmer loan would help; although she hasn’t seen what the requirements are yet so doesn’t know if she would qualify.
But she’s pleased to see a loan in place with such a high ceiling. “They do realize agriculture is getting more expensive to invest in.” A federal news release issued Thursday, says the $500 million loan program offers people 18 to 39 who qualify, loans of up to $500,000 to buy or improve farmland and buildings. Interest rates are variable at prime plus 0.5 per cent and there are special fixed rates. As well, there are no loan processing fees.
Clem Samson, FCC’s vice president of western operations, says the loan program is available now. He says it is designed to encourage younger people to move into agriculture.
Young farmers, typically defined as less than 40 years of age, are involved in the formative years of an operation, Samson says. “As people build equity and so on it can be more difficult to get financing moving forward,” he says. “So what we thought we’d do is come about with a product that was less expensive fee-wise and so on and then also a rate that was lower than the normal industry would give out.”
The news release says about 16 per cent of Canadian producers fall into the younger farmer category according to the 2006 Census. BF