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Extra Funds Come Through For Federal Farm Real Estate Loans

Ron Nichols/NRCS

Indiana's Farm Service Agency has officially run out of loan money for everyday farm operating costs. But Congress is stepping in to keep the FSA's real estate loans afloat.

The Farm Service Agency predicted it would run out of loan money by this month.

That was after low commodity prices and wet weather in 2015 made it tough for some farmers to pay their operating costs, or pay back their banks -- and more banks, in turn, asked the FSA to help with the debt.

Indiana spent its FSA allocation earlier this year and was pulling from a national pool to cover farmer and bank requests. It had paid out around $170 million when that national pool ran out.

That left a few requests in the queue for next fiscal year, which starts in September – but Indiana loan specialist Ann Eggleston says most were already taken care of before the crop was in the ground:

"You do have, occasionally, people wanting to buy livestock, a tractor, a combine," she says -- but, "at this time of year, a lot of the requests are farm ownership loan funds."

Those ownership loans help pay for new farmland, or back up banks giving out their own real estate loans. Congress recently okayed the use of $500 million in USDA funds to cover those requests in Indiana and other states.

Eggleston says they don't know yet if they'll run out of money again before fall. 

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