The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) has launched the Colorado Agricultural Future Loan Program, a new financially inclusive lending program that offers financing to farmers, ranchers, and agriculturally supportive business owners who have the skills, training, and vision to succeed, but simply lack funding.
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“Colorado’s agriculture is broad and diverse, and this program will help more people gain access to financing that will increase the diversity of our food system while continuing to invest in the future of Colorado agriculture,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg.
“Growing and raising food is hard work, and CDA is here to provide the financial and technical support to those who have the training and commitment necessary to succeed. Providing flexible, low interest loans to ag entrepreneurs will help ensure a secure farming and ranching future for Colorado.”
CDA has partnered with First Southwest Bank, a community-based lender with more than 100 years of experience in serving Southern and rural Colorado, with key lending relationships across the state.
The Colorado Agricultural Future Loan Program was created with the goal of expanding access to land, capital, equipment, and conservation tools through innovative financing.
This program is intended to help increase participation from next-generation farmers, expand diversity within farming, and strengthen Colorado agriculture. It offers a low, fixed interest rate and a flexible repayment schedule for anywhere from one to 20 years.
The loan program is administered by First Southwest Bank, a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), in partnership with its nonprofit affiliate First Southwest Community Fund, which provides risk mitigating gap funding to emerging and existing businesses.
These loans are intended to build resilience in agricultural systems by expanding opportunities and increasing access to funds for individuals and businesses that have traditionally lacked access to conventional finance.
To help ensure borrower success, CDA will help applicants access technical assistance as needed, including translation, help drafting business plans, gathering documentation, or developing materials.
As loans are repaid, the funds will be redistributed to additional qualified applicants. ■