State offers help to young farmers

March 15, 2010 4:42:47 AM PDT
Texas has joined a federal effort to offer low-interest loans to beginning farmers. The state's Young Farmer Grant program is funded by fees from farm license plates and aims to help farmers from ages 18 to 46 start or expand their agricultural businesses.

The Austin American Statesman reports that Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples issued the first grants from the program last month. A total of $100,000 in matching grants went to 13 young farmers who put up $10,000 of their own money.

Staples says the program aims to encourage more young people to take up farming at a time when more than 80 percent of the state's farmers are older than age 45.

The Farm Service Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has managed similar loan program at the federal level since 1992.


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