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Serving: WI

Badgerland Launches Beginning Farmer Program

New program aims to help new farmers get started.

Badgerland Financial has launched a new, innovative program for young and beginning farmers called "Beginning with Badgerland."

"Badgerland Financial is committed to helping Wisconsin's agricultural community by investing resources and taking some additional risk in helping young and beginning farmers," says Ken Reiners Sr., vice president of marketplace delivery. "This new program can make a meaningful difference for young and beginning farmers by helping them to start their own agricultural operation, expand the one they already have or increase their ownership position in an existing family farm."

The "Beginning with Badgerland" program is open to those meeting three general pre-qualifications. First, the applicant must be 35 years of age or younger with less than 10 years of Schedule F farming income. The applicant also must be headquartered in Badgerland Financial's service area and not qualify for a loan or lease under Badgerland Financial's conventional underwriting criteria. Full- and part-time farmers are eligible, and operations can include traditional agricultural farms as well as those that are non-traditional. These non-traditional operations often include some form of direct marketing, niche farming or on-farm, value-added processing.

In addition to acquiring financing, "Beginning with Badgerland" participants also receive numerous other benefits, including a unique Badgerland Financial Grant that can be used for expenses associated with business-related fees, professional services, training and education. Plus, participants receive a semi-annual financial check-up, skill assessment evaluation and training program customized to enhance their existing skill sets, annual networking conference and more.

"One of the most unique aspects of this new program is that we're offering so much more than just financing," says Mike Herschleb, assistant vice president and product development specialist. "We are 100% committed to developing a partnership with program participants and working with them for the long term. We want them to achieve the level of financial success they need to qualify for credit under conventional credit standards."

Badgerland Financial is also pleased to be partnering with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) by working together to achieve a common goal of helping to finance young or beginning producers in their goal of a career in production agriculture.

"With the collaboration, we can utilize the best products and loan structures of Badgerland Financial and FSA to create more opportunities for young or beginning producers to get started.

Our status as a FSA Preferred Lender ensures that the approval and closing process will be smooth and efficient," says Bryan Stanek, assistant vice president with Badgerland Financial.

Those interested in learning more about the "Beginning with Badgerland" program are asked to contact your local Badgerland Financial office to speak with a lending specialist. Questions may also be directed to Mike Herschleb at 920-261-2275. Additional information is posted on (click on the Loans/Leases/Bonds tab, then Loan Types and Young, Beginning, Small Farmer).

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