Education fund available for producers

Education fund available for producers Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) has announced a new program to help young and beginning producers further their business education. Under the Business Education Reimbursement Fund, FCSAmerica's young and beginning producer customers can receive up to $500 annually for business classes and financial management tools.

"We in agriculture all depend on the next generation of producers," said Neil Olsen, executive vice president of FCSAmerica. "More than just providing a source of money, we feel a responsibility to actively educate and help these individuals build viable operations now to ensure a profitable industry in the future."

FCSAmerica is allocating $250,000 annually toward the Business Education Reimbursement Fund. Funds are available for existing customers who operate a farm or ranch, are 35 years of age or younger or have been in production agriculture for 10 years or less.

As a partner with young and beginning producers, FCSAmerica will reimburse qualified producers up to one-half of the cost for business classes, financial management courses and business-keeping tools. Customers may contact their local FCSAmerica loan officer to apply.

Qualifying reimbursements include record-keeping software, record-keeping education at community colleges, marketing seminars/education, employee management education, leadership education, basic computer education and financial analysis. The funds may not be used for capital purchases, production management or technical training.

The Business Education Reimbursement Fund further strengthens the overall offering for young and beginning producers through FCSAmerica. FCSAmerica also provides five other programs to help these producers succeed, including conventional and outreach loans, Youth in Agriculture loans, college scholarships and educational and financial sponsorships. FCSAmerica has been serving young and beginning producers since 1917.

Olsen says these programs are necessary tools for young and beginning producers to get a start in agriculture. But more importantly, he suggests that educating and building relationships with these producers are just as vital for a prosperous future in production agriculture.

Over 7,000 young and beginning producers are using one or more of FCSAmerica's resources. Those producers account for more than $570 million in loan volume, which is 10 percent of the lender's total loan volume, and 19 percent of the young and beginning producers in the lender's four-state area of Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Olsen says FCSAmerica recognizes the inherent uncertainty and financial risk in working with young and beginning producers. Yet it wants to help these individuals meet the economic challenges they face and provide the long-term reliability they need to build their businesses. The lender's sole focus on agriculture makes it easy to understand why it has a vested interest in the future of these producers.

"We are excited to work with young and beginning producers who have a strong probability of graduating to a higher level of business success in the next 10, 20 and 30 years, as they are the producers of the future," Olsen said.

Farm Credit Services of America is dedicated to financing the growth of rural America, including the special needs of young and beginning producers. With over 50,000 customers and assets of more than $7 billion, FCSAmerica is one of the largest providers of credit and insurance services to farmers, ranchers, agribusiness and rural residents in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. Learn more at www.fcsamerica.com.

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