Canada’s federal farm lending agency has held over its Young Farmer Loan program for a third year and again boosted the program’s budget commitment.
Farm Credit Canada said Thursday it will continue the program, which grants loans to eligible producers under age 40 for up to $500,000 to buy or improve farmland and buildings.
The program — which features variable lending rates at prime plus 0.5 per cent, the option for a special fixed rate, and no loan processing fees — has approved over $861 million in loans since its launch in March 2012.
FCC, which set aside $500 million for loans through the program in 2012 and doubled that last year to $1 billion, said Thursday it will now expand the program commitment to $1.5 billion.
“As the only financial lender offering this unique program, FCC is encouraging more and more young Canadians to take a serious look at a career in agriculture,” federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in the lender’s release.
“Enabling young producers to borrow with no fees at affordable interest rates helps them develop a solid credit history and build their business,” FCC said.
Darren Oliphant, who farms at Eston in western Saskatchewan with his brother and father, said in the release that the program has “helped me move from participant to business owner.”
Jean-Philippe Lajoie, a maple syrup producer at Sainte-Lucie-de-Beauregard in Quebec’s Chaudiere-Appalaches region, said “the flexibility and the loan’s interest rate were very appealing, allowing us to focus more on our operation and spend less time worrying about finances.” — AGCanada.com Network