(From the Ohio Treasurer’s Office)
Ahead of the 2024 growing season, Treasurer Sprague is reminding Ohio’s farmers, agribusinesses, and agricultural cooperatives (co-ops) that reduced interest capital is available to them through the long-standing Ag-LINK program. For the first quarter of 2024, program participants will receive a minimum loan discount of 2.65%.
“For decades, Ag-LINK has helped Ohio’s agriculture community to save money on operating costs, but our recent reform efforts have reimagined this program to make it even more powerful in light of high prices and interest rates,” said Treasurer Sprague. “After a record-breaking 2023, we’re once again putting the power of Ohio’s balance sheet to work for all those who work so hard to put food on our tables.”
Through Ag-LINK, farmers, agribusinesses, and co-ops can receive an interest rate reduction on new or existing operating loans. For nearly 40 years, the program has helped Ohio’s agriculture community to finance the upfront costs for feed, seed, fertilizer, fuel, equipment, and other expenses. Loan caps are assessed and set by the Treasurer’s office on an annual basis. The loan cap for 2024 has been set at $500,000.
An eligible borrower:
Is either organized for profit or as an agricultural cooperative;
Must have headquarters and 51% of operations maintained in Ohio;
Must use the loan exclusively for agricultural purposes; and
Must agree to comply with all program and financial institution regulations.
In 2023, Ag-LINK saved Ohio’s farming community more than $14.1 million, setting a new single-year record and shattering the previous year’s record of $2.038 million in savings. Over the 12 month-span, the program provided interest rate reductions on a total of $614,083,754 in loans to 3,132 borrowers.
The new annual records set in 2022 and 2023 were the direct result of Ag-LINK reform efforts that included the transition to a year-long application period, the addition of co-ops as eligible program participants, and the removal of outdated loan caps, as well as increases to the overall costs of borrowing.
“Finding ways for Ohio’s growers to save money and drive down operational costs is among our association’s top priorities for 2024,” said Tadd Nicholson, Executive Director of Ohio Corn & Wheat. “Programs like Ag-LINK help us to do just that. We’re grateful for Treasurer Sprague’s continued focus on this program and his recent work to modernize it and make it stronger.”
More information on the Ag-LINK program, including how to get started, can be found at www.tos.ohio.gov/ag-link/.