South Dakota Department of Agriculture offering financing for state's farmers and ranchers

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) reminds farmers and ranchers that it has financing programs available to assist producers during these difficult economic times.

In response to stricter banking regulations brought on by the national financial downturn, some South Dakota producers have experienced difficulty obtaining loans. Some operators have been asked to make larger down payments and provide additional documentation to their lenders.

The SDDA has programs available that partner borrowers with local lenders to provide lower interest rates. The SDDA's current rate is 4.5 percent and affects the Livestock Loan Participation and Rural Development Agricultural Loan Participation programs.

The Livestock Loan program partners SDDA with a local lender to provide opportunities for livestock operators with current facilities, equipment and feed. The SDDA can finance 50 percent of the total loan amount, or a maximum of $100,000, for up to five years.

The Rural Development Loan program is designed to help producers purchase land, buildings, equipment, machinery, or other improvements for a new or existing operation. This loan also works in conjunction with a local lender and can provide up to 80 percent of the total loan amount, or a maximum of $300,000, for up to 10 years.

In addition to the participation loans, SDDA also has guaranty loans and bond programs, which can provide producers with low-interest financing.

For more information on any of the financial programs offered through the Value Added Finance Authority, contact your local lender or Michael Schelske, loan administrator with SDDA, at 605-773-5436. Program summaries and application forms are available at www.state.sd.us/doa/ag_dev/loan.