Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

Remember how earlier in the week I shared news of our farm? And then I typed these fateful words:

If all goes well, we hope to be farm owners this July (next month)! We are prepared for the inevitable hiccups and heartaches along the way, so we’re not attached to an exact date (although we do give up our city home on July 31!). At this point, the thought of non-stop action to move, clean, prepare, establish, cultivate and nurture is so exciting, and I’m just waiting until we get the green light to move forward.

Well, it seems as if we have stumbled across a few of those inevitable hiccups this week. First, although it appears that our loan is moving through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) approval process (and I say appears because the process is as transparent as a concrete wall), FSA is out of money for this fiscal year. Oops. Second, this means that our best option for purchasing this farm within any sort of reasonable time line is to keep our FSA application in the queue, but set ourselves up for a 'bridge loan' with our commercial lender for the interim. Third, it looks like our closing date has been pushed back to mid-August (gulp).

As I mentioned in the last post, we're applying for the FSA 5/45/50 direct real estate loan program that is available to Beginning Farmers and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers. The first requires less than 10 years of farm experience, but at least three years of farm management experience, the latter includes women and minorities. So, we happen to qualify as both. Through this program, the aspiring farmer (us) provides a down payment of at least 5% of the purchase price. FSA provides a direct loan for 45% of the purchase price at a ridiculously low interest rate. The remaining loan amount (50% or less, depending on the down payment) is carried through an agricultural commercial lender. We are very lucky to be working with Badgerland Financial as our commercial lender. They have taken very good care of us, and helped us navigate the semi-treacherous FSA loan process! Badgerland is also in the process of revamping their program to support beginning farmers, which makes us extra happy. Anyhow, navigating a single lender has its challenges, and working with two poses a whole new set of challenges - especially on the communications from.

So in short, since FSA appears to be out of cash for this fiscal year, we will embark on another roundabout process where Badgerland will cover FSA's portion of the loan until October, and then FSA will just pay 'em back. (Sort of, it's much more complicated than that, but you get the point). All of this dawdling around on the loan process, none of which is anyone's fault, set us back about a month in our timelines to farm ownership and dirt-under-our-nails. We will continue to practice patience, and temper our excitement as we move forward. And we'll thank the universe too...that whole thing about giving up our apartment on July 31st has been remedied (phew), we can still acquire Guinea Hog feeder stock (although a month older) in mid-August and we'll still get in on time to place some fall crops into whatever piece of land is ready for us.

Mmmm. Baby Guinea Hogs (from the American Guinea Hog Assn website).

So, scratch that whole 'fingers crossed for July" thing...now it's positive thoughts for August!

We are charting our journey to farm ownership in the Farm Journal section of just.write.food.

Views: 73

Comment by Jennifer on June 17, 2013 at 9:26am

Vanessa: Thanks for sharing this update, although I'm sorry to hear the schedule isn't quite what you were hoping. Is there any penalty on your end if your lender covers the loan until October? Please do keep HOMEGROWN posted. Baby guinea hogs are certainly something to look forward to, and your positive attitude is a ray of sunshine!

Comment by vanessa jean on June 17, 2013 at 11:14am

Hi Jennifer - There doesn't seem to be a 'penalty' for the bridge loan, except that we have to pay the higher interest rate of the commercial lender on the whole loan amount until the FSA portion were to come through. We'll see what happens!


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