October 26, 2009

State Department of Agriculture Proposes Emergency Rule Change to Provide Needed Assistance

The Missouri Department of Agriculture and the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) are proposing an emergency rule change to the Single Purpose Animal Loan Guarantee Program to help extend credit to Missouri's producers. Ag industries, especially dairy and pork, continue to face high input costs and sustained low sell prices well below the cost of production.

"The Department is committed to taking a proactive approach in finding opportunities to reduce the dire economic impacts affecting our agricultural community," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "We have asked our affiliated boards to investigate all possible options and tools within their disposal to find ways to provide assistance for Missouri's number one industry. This proposed rule change stems from that effort and piggybacks nicely on national efforts to stabilize prices."

The Single Purpose Animal Loan Guarantee Program provides a 50 percent guarantee on loans up to $250,000 that banks and other lenders make to independent producers. The current rules for this program do not include options for refinancing or loans for operating capital. Therefore, MASBDA is proposing an emergency rule change to open up the program to qualified farmers from all agricultural sectors. The emergency rule change is effective November 2, 2009.

"This proposed change is consistent with the mission of MASBDA and will provide much needed assistance to producers at a critical time," stated Jeff Case, chairman of MASBDA. "The general economic downturn and the current credit crunch have impacted all of agriculture and the dairy and pork industries in particular."

For more information about financial assistance offered by the Department of Agriculture, visit mda.mo.gov or call MASBDA at (573) 751-2129.