RENO — USDA Directors for the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and USDA Rural Development have been holding community meetings in some of the most rural areas of Nevada to make residents aware of their programs and services. To date, meetings have been conducted in Round Mountain, Ely and Fallon, and tribal meetings have been held in Fallon, Wells, Battle Mountain and Elko.
USDA officials say the results have been worthwhile. The Natural Resources Conservation Service is seeing an increase in requests for assistance from beginning, limited resource and socially disadvantaged producers, including women.
USDA Rural Development’s Housing Program is on track to break $100 million in investments for rural home loans this year, a 48 percent increase over FY 2011. Affordable low-interest loans have been provided to 646 Nevada families this fiscal year. The USDA Rural Development Business Program has invested over $8 million in guaranteed loans to rural businesses.
The FSA has provided nearly $9 million in direct loans, farm loans and direct counter cyclical payments to Nevada farmers. FSA State Director Clint Koble says the agency is now providing 33.9 percent of all farm loans to Socially Disadvantaged Americans, up from 23.8 percent three years ago. Rural Youth Loans are very popular and loan applications for that program more than tripled in the last three years.
For more information on the USDA programs, go to www.USDA.gov.