A 27-year-old program offered through the Ohio Treasurer Office will help 29 Fulton County farmers reduce the interest rates on their operating loans for 2012.
Josh Mandel, Ohio treasurer, announced the awards for the Agricultural Linked Deposit program, or Ag-LINK.
Seth Unger, press secretary for Mandel, said under the program, the treasurer office agrees to place a deposit of up to $100,000 per farm loan with a bank or other ag lender.
The treasurer office agrees to accept no interest from the deposit.
That allows the bank or lender to reduce the interest rate on the farm loan, lowering the borrowing cost for the farmer.
“The program works to help a lot of farmers get their startup costs for things like feed, seed, fertilizer, and fuel,” he said.
By reducing the interest rate on the operating loan, Unger said the farmer can invest more money in equipment or hire workers to increase production.
Banks and lenders make money by lending cash from the State of Ohio to farmers. In a time when there is limited capital, the Ag-LINK program makes money available to lend, freeing other funds to lend to small businesses.
Of the 88 Ohio counties, 64 had farmers and lenders participating in the linked deposit program.
Fulton County ranked 10th in the amount of interest rate reductions. A total of $2,436,025 in interest rate reductions was awarded to 29 farms.
Neighboring Defiance County had the second largest amount of interest rate reductions, where more than $4 million was awarded.
The true amount of savings the average farmer might realize is not as great as it has been in the past.
Unger said in these days of historically low interest rates, “a lot of farmers are getting really low rates,” he said.
That does not mean the treasurer office is giving up on the program.
Unger said Ag-LINK has been very successful, and plans are underway to raise the $100,000 limit to $150,000.
He said Ag-LINK has enjoyed bipartisan support in the state legislature.