Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that a high demand for guaranteed farm ownership and direct farm operating funds has prompted USDA to transfer appropriated funds between programs as authorized by law, to meet the urgent credit needs of producers, including beginning and minority farmers and ranchers.

"Demand is strong for direct operating loans and guaranteed farm ownership loans, while demand for subsidized guaranteed operating loans has stabilized," said Vilsack. "With these funds, we can help thousands of producers establish and maintain their family farming operations and obtain long-term credit assistance through a commercial lender."

The transfer will make an additional $100 million in loan funds available for the direct operating loan program, providing 1,600 small, beginning and minority farmers with resources to establish and maintain their family farming operations. In addition, $400 million in loan funds will be made available for the guaranteed farm ownership loan program giving an additional 1,000 family farmers access to commercial lending backed by USDA. Both programs had run out of funds resulting in a backlog of approved but unfunded loan applications.

This measure will allow all of the backlogged loans to be funded and provide sufficient funds to meet the needs of new loan applicants for these programs while at the same time leaving sufficient funding for the subsidized guaranteed farm operating loans program to meet the expected demand for fiscal year 2011. Producers needing additional direct operating or longer term guaranteed farm ownership loans funds are encouraged to make application at their local Farm Service Agency office.