Farmers considering upgrading or adding extra storage space for harvested crops this spring should be aware of the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Farm Storage Facility Loan program, said Scherrie Giamanco, FSA Illinois state executive director.

Participants are required to provide a down payment of 15 percent, with the Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC) providing a loan for the remaining 85 percent of the net cost of the eligible storage facility and permanent drying and handling equipment.

Loan terms of seven, 10, or 12 years are now available depending on the amount of the loan. Interest rates for each loan term are different and are based on the rate at which the CCC borrows from the Treasury Department.

Currently, interest rates are 2.75 percent for a seven-year loan, 3.375 percent for a 10-year loan, and 3.625 for a 12-year loan; however, interest rates change monthly.

Payments also are available in the form of a partial disbursement and a remaining final disbursement. The partial disbursement will be available after a portion of the construction has been completed.

The final fund disbursement will be made when all construction is completed. The maximum amount of the partial disbursement will be 50 percent of the projected and approved total loan amount. The partial disbursement is available only on the portion already constructed.

Loan applications must be submitted to the FSA county office that maintains the farm's records. A loan must be approved before any site preparation or construction can begin.

For more information, visit your FSA county office or go online. You can also visit http://southwestfarmpress.com/usda-implements-storage-loan-program to see the original announcement and additional details of the program.