manure equipment

Low-interest loans available to help comply with nutrient law

Buckeye Farm News

After SB1 went into effect, Ohio Farm Bureau developed a plan to help farmers comply with the new law and worked with the treasurer’s office to pass an expansion of the treasurer’s low-interest loan Ag-LINK program. Called Ag-LinkNOW (for Northwestern Ohio Watershed), the new five-year program allows WLEB farmers to apply for an interest rate reduction on a loan of up to $500,000 to install a manure storage containment system or purchase equipment to incorporate manure into the ground.

Who is eligible?

In order to participate, farmers and agricultural businesses must:

•be headquartered in Ohio;

•maintain land or facilities for agricultural purposes in Ohio, as long as the land or facilities in the state are not less than 51 percent of the total of all land and facilities maintained by the person;

•maintain land or facilities for agricultural purposes in the Western Lake Erie Basin;

•certify that the reduced rate loan will be used exclusively for agricultural purposes on land or in facilities owned or operated by the business in the WLEB and that the loan will materially contribute to the business’s compliance of SB1.

The treasurer’s office will give priority on loans based on financial need for complying with SB1, the overall financial need of the farm and the economic need of the area where the farm is located.

What is the process for applying for Ag-LinkNOW?

Farmers or agricultural businesses in the Western Lake Erie Basin can apply for an interest rate reduction of up to 3 percent on a loan of up to $500,000 from a participating bank or farm credit lender.

After the lender and borrower agree on the loan terms, the lender submits an online application to the Ohio treasurer’s office.

The treasurer’s economic development officers evaluate the applications and approve funds based on economic need.

The treasurer’s office negotiates the Ag-LinkNOW interest rate reduction with the participating financial institutions.

Lenders accept the funding terms for each application and lower the interest rate until the program ends July 1, 2020.

Those who are already registered for the long-time Ag-LINK program still have to register for new Ag-LinkNOW program.

For more information, contact the treasurer’s economic development department at 614-485-6950.

Callie Wells 

Callie Wells is the director of digital communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.