Ag-LINK program updated Week Of 5/30/2022

Staff Writer

With the passage of House Bill 440, legislation to update the Ohio Gains initiative, Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague has announced changes to the Ag-LINK program.
As part of the legislation, agricultural cooperatives (co-ops) have been added as eligible Ag-LINK borrowers for the first time in the program’s history. Programmatic and loan caps have also been removed from statute to ensure the program keeps pace with changing economic conditions.
Additionally, in February, Sprague announced that for the first time, applications will be accepted year-round to provide borrowers with greater flexibility and access to lower-cost capital when they need it most.
“For decades, Ag-LINK has supported Ohio farmers by driving down the cost of doing business,” said Sprague. “As they face new challenges caused by crippling inflation and massive supply chain issues, we’ve taken Ag-LINK to the next level to better meet their needs. We’re proud to make these much-needed improvements at this critical time and serve the Buckeye State’s next generation of farmers.”
In the first quarter of 2022, Ag-LINK:
-Supported 530 loans to Ohio agricultural businesses across 54 counties totaling more than $103 million
-Saved Ohio agricultural businesses at least $518,453 (based on the first quarter minimum loan discount of 0.5 percent.
The Ohio Treasurer’s office administers the Ag-LINK program to help farm operators, agribusinesses, and now agricultural co-ops, finance the upfront operating costs for feed, seed, fertilizer, fuel, equipment, and other costs.
Prior to HB 440’s passage, Ohio law limited individual loans available through Ag-LINK to just $150,000 per year. Moving forward, loan caps will be assessed and set on an annual basis by the treasurer’s office.
Each year will be divided into four quarters. New interest rate reduction figures are announced at the start of each quarter to reflect current economic conditions. For the current quarter, Ag-LINK is providing a 0.5 percent interest rate reduction on agriculture business operation loans at eligible banks, credit unions, and farm credit lenders.
Those interested in Ag-LINK should contact their financial institution to begin the online loan application process. More information on the Ag-LINK program can be found online.
The Ohio Gains initiative puts the state’s balance sheet to work for Ohioans through innovative investment strategies that will secure a more prosperous future for Ohio, Sprague said.
House Bill 440 includes investment reforms that bolster support for the state’s agriculture community, health systems, and institutions of higher education.
The legislation was sponsored in the Senate by Michael Rulli and Jerry Cirino and in the House Representatives D.J. Swearingen and Andrea White.


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