New 0% Interest Loan Financing Available to Beginning Farmers in Southeast Ohio

The Plains, Ohio—The growth of southeast Ohio’s local food economy depends on the success of new and beginning farmers. Now, more farmers will be able to access small business loans with the creation of the Rural Action Sustainable Agriculture Impact Fund. The Fund will partner with the non-profit Kiva (online at www.kiva.org/about) to help provide 0% interest loans to beginning farmers.

The Fund was made possible thanks to a generous gift from Rebecca Dale, a Rural Action member with a deep interest in sustainable agriculture. “It’s hard for new farmers when they’re starting out,” said Dale. “I appreciate the work Rural Action does to help local food producers gain access to markets and learn best practices, so I knew this was the right organization to support in their service to new farmers.”

Over the past decade, Rural Action’s Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry programs have developed several tools to aid beginning farmers, including technical assistance, peer-to-peer education, market assistance, and the development of place based markets such as the Chesterhill Produce Auction. “Rural Action is excited to add this powerful tool to our long-term commitment to sustainable agriculture, and is grateful to members like Rebecca who support our work,” said Tom Redfern, director of Rural Action’s Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry programs.

The Fund is seeking farmers and other agricultural businesses to apply for 0% interest loans, which can pay for infrastructure (high tunnels, cooling units, irrigation systems, tractors and tillers, etc.), operating capital, marketing, and pre-season inventory. Other needs will be considered by request and with strong business rationale. Loan applications can be submitted for between $500 and $10,000 and a loan term of up to 3 years. Loans will be underwritten using the Kiva platform, which crowdfunds the loans with individual lenders with a loan contribution of as little as $25. As the loan is repaid, lenders receive a payment proportional to their contribution. Kiva is a non-profit organization that takes no fees on the lending or repayment side for their underwriting services.

Rural Action is a member-based sustainable community development organization. Their mission is to build a more just economy by developing the region’s assets in environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways. The Rural Action Sustainable Agriculture Program works to increase local food production to increase economic opportunities and improve healthy food access. Learn more about Rural Action at www.ruralaction.org. You can also keep up with their work on Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, and Instagram.

####

CONTACT
Brian Vadakin
Social Enterprise Coordinator
brianv@ruralaction.org
(740) 677-4047 x.23