To qualify as a beginning farmer or rancher, the borrower must meet the following criteria:
Be an individual actively engaged in an agricultural or ranch operation or must become actively engaged in an agricultural or ranch operation upon receiving the loan.
Have a net worth (including the net worth of the farmer's or rancher's spouse) of not more than $500,000.
Be an individual who has not at any time had any direct or indirect ownership interest in "substantial farmland".
The aggregate amount of the loans (subject to limitations on depreciable property) received by a farmer or rancher (including the farmer or rancher's spouse or minor children) cannot exceed $543,800* (*adjusted annually for inflation/deflation).
Real estate used in an agricultural operation, including improvements to real estate such as terracing, wells, water impoundment and permanently-affixed buildings used for farming purposes.
Depreciable property used in an agricultural trade or business, including, but not limited to, equipment and breeding livestock.
Proceeds of the agricultural loans may not be used to provide working capital or to refinance existing Ag indebtedness incurred more than 60 days prior to NIFA approval. These loans may be used, with certain restrictions, for property purchased at auction.
Agricultural loan proceeds may be used to purchase eligible projects from a related person under certain circumstances. Contact NIFA with questions on individual situations.