CEP Empowers Minority Farmers with Microloan Program in Houston County
The Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension Program empowers minority agriculture farmers to produce sustainable products utilizing Extension educational programs in the areas of Beef & Forage, vegetable production, fruit production, and all measures of the United States Department of Agriculture.
In 2013, USDA established a microloan program to help smaller, non-traditional producers finance farm operations. The CEP and Houston County agents organized programs to explain the USDA microloan process and the benefit of specific Farm Service Agency resources that target start-ups. Through careful planning and process monitoring, agents explained the requirements of the loan and the simplification of the application process to county residents.
One resident, in particular, found the information useful and took advantage of the program since limited finances prevented him years earlier from starting his cow-calf operating business. This applicant, Randy Jones, worked closely with agents to develop his business plan, and create an economic model and cost-benefit analysis for selecting his breeding stock along with equipment. The CEP agent also helped the applicant with record keeping, marketing and best practices for a sustainable operation.
The Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension Program serves a vital role as a resource to ensure that proper research-based information is reaching targeted clientele. To accomplish this goal the Cooperative Extension Program builds a committee of trusted farmers in the county partnering with other local, state, and government agencies, as well as, community-based organizations to build relationships for programs that farmers can utilize in their day to day operations.
Corey J. Hicks
AGNR Extension Agent Houston County