The Agriculture-linked low Interest Loan (AgriLink) Program
The Agriculture-linked low Interest Loan (AgriLink) Program, amended under Act 39 of 2019, provides ‘low-interest’ loans to assist farmers in implementation of best management practices (BMPs) listed in approved Act 38 nutrient management plans, Chapter 91 manure management plans, agricultural Erosion and Sedimentation plans (Ag E&S) or conservation plans.
The AgriLink Program is administered by the PA Treasury, in collaboration with the State Conservation Commission who subsidizes interest rates to provide a true low-interest loan for farmers through eligible commercial lenders and the Farm Credit Service.
It is the intent of the AgriLink Program to offer a low-interest loan alternative if a conventional loan is not practical for the farmer.
Guidelines & Uses
An eligible farmer is any person, individual, partnership, corporation or legal entity who has legal and financial responsibility for an agricultural operation and is engaged in the management of the agricultural operation.
An eligible farm must have developed an approved Act 38 nutrient management plan or a manure management plan or an agricultural erosion and sedimentation plan or other Commission-approved Federal or State conservation program or approved best management practice.
CEG Program Priority BMP Criteria
BMPs that are approved by the Commission and are listed in an approved nutrient management plan, a manure management plan, an Ag E&S plan or other acceptable conservation plan are eligible for AgriLink Program loans.
BMPs may be either structural or management oriented and shall be designed and constructed to conform to the standards found in the Pennsylvania Technical Guide.
BMPs may include:
- Conservation tillage.
- Crop rotation.
- Storm water management practices.
- Manure storage facilities.
- Barnyard and feedlot runoff abatement.
- Stream bank fencing (livestock exclusion).
- Riparian buffers.
- Pasture livestock watering systems. Nutrient application.
- Soil or Manure testing.
- Nutrient or manure management plans.
- Agricultural erosion and sedimentation plans.
- Other conservation plans.
- Odor management plan.
- Odor management BMPs.
- Any other BMP approved by the Commission.
These practices (BMPs) may include those BMPs currently identified in the Eligible Best Management Practice List provided by the Commission.
AgriLink provides loan funding to eligible projects through participating commercial lending institutions (an eligible state depository) or an office of the Farm Credit Service such as AgChoice or MidAtlantic Farm Service.
- The loan maybe structured as a construction loan.
- The amount of the loan is based on eligible costs submitted by the farmer (borrower) for an approved project.
- A single loan awarded to an eligible borrower may not exceed $250,000.
- The term of the loan may not exceed 12 years.
- The targeted interest rate will change periodically depending on the Commission’s subsidy and the current market interest rate. Please note: the final interest rate may be a fixed or variable rate based on available options from the lender.
The availability of AgriLink Program loan to an eligible farmer is, in part, at the discretion of the lender based on a financial review of a loan application. Participating lenders retain the right to evaluate all loan applications according to their usual lending standards and offer a loan program from their portfolio which best fits the needs of the farmer.
The AgriLink Program is currently available in all counties in Pennsylvania.
Eligible & Ineligible Costs
Eligible Costs include:
- Project design, engineering and associated planning costs.
- Project construction or installation provided by a contractor, including labor provided by the applicant.
- Equipment, materials and other components of eligible projects
How to Apply
Applicants can apply for an AgriLink Program loan through any participating commercial lender designated as a state depository or any office of the Farm Credit Service.
A farmer must supply the participating lender with the following documentation at the time of application:
- A copy of a completed ‘Borrower Assurance of Eligibility and Verification’ form verifying one or more of the appropriate plans has been developed for the operation.
- A copy of a completed ‘Statement of Concurrence of Project Costs’ validating reasonable costs for construction of the best management practices.
- A copy of a completed ‘Borrower Affidavit and Assurance of use of Funds’ assuring that the principle amount of the loan, when combined with any other funding sources obtained for the implementation of the project does not exceed the actual costs of the best management practice and, the loan funds will be exclusively used for the implementation of the best management practice.
Once the lender has approved the loan application and agreed to issue an AgriLink Program loan, the interest rate reduction will be applied and the terms of the loan agreed upon between the lender and the borrower.