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Underused loan programs in Missouri could help farmers fight inflation

A combine harvests corn in October 2022 near Maud, Mo.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
A combine harvests corn in October 2022 near Maud, Mo.

Inflation has hit the agriculture sector hard, with increased prices in everything from fuel to fertilizer biting into already inconsistent profits.

Two programs in Missouri could help farmers, and the Missouri Department of Agriculture is hoping more of them will take advantage of the assistance.

During a special session last fall, the legislature passed expanded agricultural tax credits to incentivize farmers to grow their operations and purchase new equipment.

“The limits have been expanded, and those interest rates continue to rise. That just makes these programs more attractive and presents more savings to the farmer,” said Jacob Stoehr, a loan officer for the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.

Those credits are now available to a larger number of farmers but are still focused on smaller operations.

“Prices have increased quite a bit in the past couple of years. So somebody could be making much more in gross revenue still farming the same acreage that they were in, 2018 or 2019,” Stoehr said. “Many of them will still be eligible for these credits.”

Stoehr said the department typically does not use all of its allotment for the tax credit program but would like to see that change this year.

Another program has been expanded to help address inflation.

The Beginning Farmer Loan Program allows local lenders to receive federally tax-exempt interest on loans made to beginning farmers. The amount available to loan to a new farmer increased by 7% to more than $600,000.

Stoehr said that program could be the difference for someone being able to start out in agriculture.

“On a 30-year loan, the savings of up to a couple of percent on their interest rate presents a real savings to that producer that can greatly benefit them over the life of the loan and in the short term as well,” Stoehr said.

Stoehr said there are no limits on the number of loans that can be granted to qualified borrowers.

More information on applying for the programs can be found here.

Jonathan Ahl is the Newscast Editor and Rolla correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.