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USDA Farm Ownership and Operating Loan Lending Rates Announced

by Guest Blogger |

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced loan interest rates for March 2024, which are effective March 1, 2024. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans provide important access to capital to help agricultural producers start or expand their farming operations, purchase equipment and storage structures, or meet cash flow needs.

“I encourage our lenders and borrowers alike to work with our local offices and our cooperators to capitalize fully on the existing flexibilities in these important programs,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. 

Operating, Ownership, and Emergency Loans

FSA offers farm ownership, operating, and emergency loans with favorable interest rates and terms to help eligible agricultural producers—whether multigenerational, longtime, or new to the industry—obtain financing needed to start, expand, or maintain a family agricultural operation. For many loan options, FSA sets aside funding for underserved producers, including beginning, women, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and Hispanic farmers and ranchers.

Interest rates for Operating and Ownership loans for March 2024 are as follows: 

Farm Operating Loans (Direct): 4.875%  

Farm Ownership Loans (Direct): 5.250%   

Farm Ownership Loans (Direct, Joint Financing): 3.250%  

Farm Ownership Loans (Down Payment): 1.500%  

Emergency Loan (Amount of Actual Loss): 3.750%  

FSA also offers guaranteed loans through commercial lenders at rates set by those lenders.

To access an interactive, online, step-by-step guide through the farm loan process, visit the Loan Assistance Tool on

Commodity and Storage Facility Loans

Additionally, FSA provides low-interest financing to producers to build or upgrade on-farm storage facilities and purchase handling equipment, as well as loans that provide interim financing to help producers meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are low. Funds for these loans are provided through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and are administered by FSA.        

Farm Loan Program Process Improvement

FSA has a significant initiative underway to streamline and automate the Farm Loan Program customer-facing business process. For the over 26,000 producers who submit a direct loan application annually, FSA has made various improvements, including the following:

The Online Loan Application, an interactive, guided application that is paperless and provides helpful features, including an electronic signature option and the ability to attach supporting documents such as tax returns, complete a balance sheet, and build a farm operating plan.

The Loan Assistance Tool that provides customers with an interactive, online, step-by-step guide to the application process and to identifying the direct loan products that may fit their business needs.

An online direct loan repayment feature that relieves borrowers from the necessity of calling, mailing, or visiting a local Service Center to pay a loan installment.

A simplified direct loan paper application, reduced from 29 pages to 13 pages.

To learn more about FSA programs, producers can contact their local USDA Service Center. Producers can also prepare maps for acreage reporting as well as manage farm loans and view other farm records data and customer information by logging into their account. If you don’t have an account, sign up today. 


Text adapted from a news release issued by USDA on March 1, 2024.