Government loans for farmers generating mixed reactions

Some say the loans help, but others say it costs more to pay a loan off in the long run.


by Sheena Elzie, KSPR News (MO)

6:08 a.m. CST, January 18, 2013


FAIR GROVE, Mo. - With farmers still reeling with the cost of last year's drought, the federal government has stepped in to help.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week more loans will be available, but not all farmers say it's such a good idea.


The USDA's new "micro-loan" program would pay up to $35,000 to farmers, but there's mixed reaction. One farmer KSPR spoke to said it would put more farmers into debt down the road, but another says small USDA loans are already helping him.


Butch Morris says when he couldn't get a loan through the banks, USDA loans paid for a barn to store feed for his cattle -- something that helped him to keep feeding during drought conditions.


Farmer Tom Huff says he couldn't afford expensive feed either because of the drought, but instead of a loan, he got rid of several cows to pay the bills. He says loans would've cost him more money.


That's why he says, as a farmer and president of the Greene County Farm Bureau, he's advocating for the government to provide more emergency assistance rather than loans.


"We need a farm bill passed and funded, and that would be more help than the offer of low interest loans," Huff said.


But others say a small loan could help small farmers...


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