New USDA Loan Program Focused on Food Supply Chain Revitalization

Feb 08, 2022


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary, Tom Vilsack recently announced that the USDA is deploying $100 million under the new Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program to make nearly $1 billion available in loan guarantees. The objectives are to support new investments in infrastructure for food aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling, and distribution, and to also increase capacity and create a more resilient, diverse, and secure U.S. food supply chain.

What is the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program?

The Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program is a part of the USDA’s Build Back Better initiative to strengthen critical supply chains and our food system. This program guarantees loans of up to $40 million for qualified lenders to finance food system projects, specifically for the start-up or expansion of activities in the middle of the food supply chain.

Who qualifies?

Eligible borrowers must be directly engaged in the middle of the food supply chain, specifically the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, or distribution of food. Examples of the types of entities that may qualify for the program include meat processors and food hubs. Lenders may provide the loans to eligible cooperatives, corporations, for-profits, nonprofits, Tribal communities, public bodies, and people in rural and urban areas.

How can funds be used?

Funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and may be used to:

  • start-up or expand food supply chain activities such as aggregating, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, or distributing food.
  • address supply chain bottlenecks.
  • increase capacity and help create a more resilient, diverse, and secure U.S. food supply chain.

How do I apply?

The USDA is accepting electronic applications from lenders through the Food Supply Chain Online Application System until funds are expended. Paper applications will not be accepted.

To access the online application system, lenders must submit a request to rdfoodsupplychainloans@usda.gov.
USDA Rural Development encourages applications for projects that advance the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, promote equitable access to USDA programs and services, and reduce the impacts of climate change on rural communities. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/priority-points.

Categories: Agribusiness


Must Have Apps for this Farming Season

Mar 22, 2016

smartphoneTechnology has grown by leaps and bounds within the last several years. It is important, no matter what your profession, to make use of improved technology to better your business. Smart phone applications can be extremely beneficial for agricultural-based careers such as farming. Since farmers are constantly on the move during their busy seasons of planting and harvesting, smart phone apps provide mobility and allow farmers to remain up-to-date on items that may influence their crops.Here are just a few apps which may be of interest to agribusiness .

AgWeb – This free app is run by the Farm Journal and helps Farmers stay up-to-date on a variety of items such as market quotes, weather patterns, and recent agricultural articles. Users also have the option to listen to several top industry radio shows including AgriTalk.

FarmLogs – Another free app available for apple and android devices which allows users to maintain various logs from events which occur in the field, task lists, rainfall tracking, to managing inventory. Multiple users can log information, allowing everyone to see updates in real-time.

TractorHouse – This free app is similar to Autotrader for farm equipment. Farmers can sell farm equipment, parts, and equipment attachments. Some nice features are the ability to narrow a search by location and adding items to your “watchlist” for easy maneuvering.

Weed ID – There are several free apps for weed identification including those powered by BASF, Monsanto, or the University of Missouri. No matter which one you choose, these are excellent apps to aide in the quick identification of weeds and how to best treat an infected field.

CheckIt – This app allows farmers to narrow down what deficiencies are apparent in a given crop and provides recommendations for improvement. One great feature to this app is its ability to function without a strong tower signal. Hence, farmers will never be “stuck in the mud” with this app not working.

Do you use any of these applications? Are there others you believe to be extremely beneficial?

By: Ellie Herr, Staff Accountant

Categories: Agribusiness


Farming and Fuel Credits

Sep 23, 2015

Agribusiness_Combine3It’s that time of the year again when farmers put in long hours harvesting their products from the field. Filling the fuel tanks of all the machinery can become pricey, but fuel tax credits can help reduce the financial burden.

Even though many farmers purchase dyed diesel without having to pay federal taxes, they may still be eligible for the fuel tax credit for other fuels utilized for business. The fuel tax credit is done on Form 4136 and is a refundable credit to the taxpayer. This means even if the credit is more than the amount of tax you owe, you will receive a refund for the balance. Here are a few common examples of how the credit could be used for you:

  • Off road use of gasoline-powered pickups or trucks
  • Off road use of gasoline-powered tractors/combines
  • Off road use of gasoline powered automobiles
  • Compressors operated on the farm powered by gasoline
  • Backup generators powered by gasoline (or diesel if undyed)
  • Lawn mowing/landscaping equipment used in farm areas
  • Maintenance shed equipment (any gas operated items used to repair machinery)
  • Gas used in ATV’s
  • Use of propane powered equipment

Note: If you have propane powered equipment, such as a forklift, you must register the equipment with the IRS in order to claim the fuel used for this purpose.

There may be other ways of receiving this credit which are not listed above. If you think you may be eligible, talk to your tax advisor. Proper supporting documentation will be required.  If you are eligible, you are required to pick-up the credit as income for the farm in the following year. Even with this being the case, the fuel tax credit could save you thousands of dollars in taxes per year.

By: Ellie Herr, Staff Accountant

Categories: Agribusiness


Agribusiness Tax Savings – Hire Your Spouse!

Jul 02, 2015

In small family farm operations it is common for spouses to provide a variety services such as bookkeeping, payroll, providing meals for workers, feeding livestock, moving workers from field to field, and even taking grain to the elevator. If your spouse does any of these and  more for the family farm, it may be tax advantageous for your to pay them a fair wage. These wages can either be paid as cash wages or commodities.

Agribusiness_Combine10Cash wages are subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes in addition to any federal and state withholdings. Commodities are not subject to Social Security or Medicare taxes and are also not subject to the federal income tax withholding rules.

If you feel commodity wages are the route you wish to take, you must make sure the following:

  • payment is for agricultural labor
  • the employee exercises control of the commodity,
  • the payment is not equivalent to cash
  • the employer puts the fair market value of the commodity (at the time of transfer) in box 1 of the W-2. If there is any gain or loss when it comes time for the employee to sell the commodity, they will record the gain or loss as a short-term gain or loss on Schedule D of their tax return.

If you feel that cash wages are the way to go, know they can be used to calculate the Domestic Production Activities Deduction.

Farmers who are subject to self-employment tax have the ability to deduct their health insurance before Adjusted Gross Income is calculated. While this is a great deduction, it does not help the farmer save on any of their self-employment tax liability. If the farmer employs his or her spouse, they have the ability to pay family coverage in the spouses name and deduct it through the business. Be careful as this will be disallowed if the spouse works for another employer that provides subsidized health insurance.

Talk to your farm tax advisor to see which option is most tax advantageous for you.

By Ella Herr, Staff Accountant

Categories: Agribusiness


Farm Management, There’s An App For That!

May 13, 2014

Agribusiness_CombineIn a world that allows technology to be at your fingertips, it is no wonder the farming community is utilizing this technology by offering applications for smartphones to keep track of all aspects of farming operations from grain to livestock and everything in between. My father, who has been farming all of his life, recently bought his own smartphone and was hoping to get applications for this very purpose. So, I helped him find some of these apps and thought I’d share  them with you. Here is a list of some of the popular applications that you are able to use for your own farm managing benefit.

FarmLogs – This free app is available for apple and android devices and it allows users to easily keep a log of events that happen in the field, the shop, or anywhere else they want to keep track of. One of the benefits to this app is that multiple users can log information in, allowing everyone to see updates in real time. This app is fairly new, but the ratings have been high up to this point.

Farm Manager – This free app is available for both apple and android devices. Farm Manager allows users to keep a full history of crops from when they are planted to when they are harvested. It also can keep records of chemicals and fertilizers applied, full details of livestock, full details of machinery, including service dates, and then you can also store pictures of machinery and crops that link to your data. It appears to record all the information on pages that are similar to apple’s note pages, making it pretty simple to use. One downside to this app is that you will have to pay a fee if you wish to sync the data with their cloud services, but otherwise everything is free.

YieldCheck – This free app is available for apple devices and it allows farmers to calculate and store corn yield estimates and can organize this data by client, farm, or even post detailes of a specific field. It can differentiate the field locations by using satellite imagery. The overall goal this app hopes to achieve is allowing users to see how much they can benefit from an additional ear of corn per acre. While I have not personally used this app, there have been several positive reviews.

Cash Grain Bids – This free app is available for apple and android devices and it allows users to simply put in their zip code and find cash bids and base levels of grain from the five closest elevators in your area. This application has some setbacks because you are not able to directly choose the elevators you wish to view, but a majority of the users say that it is simple but effective. On the downside this app is still new and has some more bugs to work out.

CheckIt – This free app is available for apple and android devices and it allows users to take a picture of a crop and it identifies nutrient deficiencies in that plant. Farmers can use this information to apply the needed nutrients to the crops so they can maximize their yield when it comes time to harvest.

Livestock Manager – This app costs $14.99 and is only available on apple products. It allows users to categorize their livestock by five different classes: cattle, horses, goats, sheep, and pigs. Once categorized, you are able to add a picture of each animal along with any other information that you would like to store from date of birth, to calving and breeding history, to vaccination history. One added bonus is the ability to link your animals with social media to market your animals effortlessly.

As an accountant I appreciate how these apps can help keep everything organized and hopefully can make you even more profitable!

Do you have an opinion on any of these applications or have any recommendations of apps you are currently using?

By: Ellie Simon, Staff Accountant

Categories: Agribusiness