Stabilizing farm income, helping farmers conserve land and water resources, providing credit to new or disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and helping farm operations recover from the effects of a disaster are the missions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA).
FSA was set up when the Department was reorganized in 1994, incorporating programs from several agencies, including the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (now a separate Risk Management Agency), and the Farmers Home Administration. Though its name has changed over the years, the Agency's relationship with farmers goes back to the 1930s.
At that time, Congress set up a unique system under which federal farm programs are administered locally. Farmers who are eligible to participate in these programs elect a three- to five-person county committee, which reviews county office operations and makes decisions on how to apply the programs. This grassroots approach gives farmers a much-needed say in how Federal actions affect their communities and their individual operations. After more than 60 years, it remains a cornerstone of FSA's efforts to preserve and promote American agriculture.
FSA makes direct and guaranteed farm ownership (FO) and operating loans (OL) to family-size farmers and ranchers who cannot obtain commercial credit from a bank, Farm Credit System institution, or another lender. FSA loans can be used to purchase land, livestock, equipment, feed, seed, and supplies. Our loans can also be used to construct buildings or make farm improvements.