Feb 3, 2022
Credit program expanded for beginning, small farmers in the Midwest
GreenStone Farm Credit Services recently expanded its program for young, beginning, and small farmers.
The program, called CultivateGrowth, is designed to support the diversity of modern agriculture through tailored financial and educational support initiatives, according to a news release from the company. GreenStone Farm Credit Services, based in East Lansing, Michigan, is Michigan and northeast Wisconsin’s largest agricultural lender and the country’s seventh largest association in the Farm Credit System. GreenStone owns and manages over $11 billion in assets and serves 27,000 members with 35 branch locations in Michigan and northeast Wisconsin. More information on GreenStone can be found at www.greenstonefcs.com.
While GreenStone has worked with young, beginning and small farmers for over 100 years, CultivateGrowth launches a brand new loan program specifically designed for this community, according to a news release from the company. The CultivateGrowth Emerging Loan has simpler, more relaxed standards, providing a financing option to some customers who may not have previously been able to qualify for a loan at any financial institution. Coupled with the new loan program remains the financing options young, beginning and small farmers have been benefiting from for decades. As a result, more customers will be able to obtain financing for their dream agricultural businesses.
As agriculture is a rapidly changing, diversifying industry, GreenStone has prioritized its support by providing customers with learning opportunities, according to the news release. Those members in the Emerging Loan program can also earn a reduced interest rate after completing a slate of educational activities, like financial training, educational conferences, tax and accounting services, mentorship programs, and more.
To help provide producers with many of the educational opportunities and support necessary for success, GreenStone is also once again committing up to $40,000 annually to young, beginning and small farmers through CultivateGrowth Grants. Grants are available for the reimbursement of many of the activities and resources that will help them learn and grow their business – including educational opportunities and business-related services like farm consultants and GreenStone’s accounting and tax services.
In order to prepare the next generation for success, GreenStone is also working to connect producers through the CultivateGrowth Mentorship. Through this partnership, new and experienced farmers are paired to help share industry knowledge, pass along on-farm lessons, and help equip them for the challenges of the agricultural industry.
“It’s always been our priority at GreenStone to support young, beginning, and small farmers in Michigan and northeastern Wisconsin,” GreenStone CEO and president Dave Armstrong said in the release. “We’re confident these new elements, paired with our century of support for these customers, will continue to bring a diverse and modern approach to our industry. We warmly welcome farmers of all types to begin a successful, long-lasting partnership with GreenStone.”
Young, beginning and small farmers each have a standard to qualify, and customers can meet one metric that aligns with the federal definitions: young farmers are those under 35 years of age, beginning farmers have less than 10 years of farming experience, and small farmers experience less than $250,000 gross farm income per year.