An idea to take to the bank

For farmers looking for non-traditional enterprises to keep their operations afloat, a new publication might lend a hand.

The Farmer’s Guide to Agricultural Credit helps farmers navigate the documentation needed to apply for a new enterprise loan, details how lenders evaluate loan applications, and even offers communication tips to allow the farmer to express creative ideas to a lender. Resources are also listed.

Nontraditional farming enterprises, such as growing organic produce or using traditional crops in unusual ways, offer farmers a means of staying financially solvent. Some of these ideas, however, can be difficult to express to those not rooted in farming. And lenders are often ill-prepared to evaluate an unorthodox proposal.

The Farmer’s Guide is designed to help both parties. It was produced by nonprofit The Rural Advancement Foundation International, with the help of a committee of farmers, commercial and agricultural lenders, representatives of state governments and other experts.

The guide is available online at A limited number of paper copies are available by mail. North Carolina farmers may request a free copy by calling (919) 542-1396. Farmers from other states will need to send $10 to cover printing and postage.

– information from the Center for Rural Affairs,