Ag-LINK Program Provides Financial Support to Ohio Farmers
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Farmers can now get more financial assistance through the Ag-LINK program.
“It’s one of the really unique tools in the farmer’s financial toolbox,” said agriculture expert Andy Vance. “The office of the treasurer basically partners with local banks either by depositing money with the bank or buying securities or investments from the bank to offset the interest rate of a farmer allowed to finance through through the program. This could reduce a farmer’s interest rate by as much as three percentage points, which is huge.
Although the program was instituted more than 30 years ago, farmers can now apply year-round. Previously, the program operated with a shorter application period at the start of the year.
The Ohio Treasurer’s Office oversees the program.
“We wanted to make it more applicable to these rising costs,” Treasurer Robert Sprague said. “So we have increased the loan limits from $150,000 to $500,000 in order to [farmers] can lend up to half a million dollars. We’ve moved to a year-round demand period, which our breeders have told us is very important that they have year-round access to capital. And we have also included agribusinesses and cooperatives in the farming community for the first time.
“And as a result, our lending volume has quadrupled. Our loan amount has quadrupled in the last six months, so we know the adoption has been amazing for the farming community here in Ohio.
Farmers can use the program to fund feed, seed, fertilizer, equipment, fuel and other items. The program does not include land purchases.
According to the Treasurer’s Office, eligible farm operators and agribusinesses must be organized for profit, have a head office and 51% of operations maintained in Ohio, must use the loan solely for agricultural purposes, and must comply all program and financial institution regulations.
“This program offers an interest rate reduction of up to three percentage points,” Vance said. “This program gives farmers a lot of flexibility in their financing and maybe eliminates some of that interest rate risk.”