This year’s growing season is well underway, and many farmers across the Buckeye State have taken advantage of our office’s long-standing Ag-LINK program to drive down costs and save money. But as anyone in the agriculture community already knows, borrowing needs can still arise well after seeds have been put in the ground.
For more than three decades, Ag-LINK has helped the industry save money on borrowing costs by providing interest rate reductions on new or existing loans. Each year, borrowers use the program to finance upfront costs for feed, seed, fertilizer, fuel, equipment, and other expenses.
With national economic challenges like inflation and high interest rates continuing to work against farmers, the Ohio Treasurer’s office stands ready to work for them and help them lower borrowing costs and keep more money in their pockets.
Last year, we worked closely with the agriculture community to revamp the Ag-LINK program and make it easier than ever before to access low-cost capital. As a result of this reform effort, Ag-LINK is now open year-round so that borrowers have access to reduced-interest loans whenever they may need it. We also removed the outdated, statutory cap on loan size that no longer fits farmers’ modern borrowing needs. Now, the Treasurer’s office can react to market conditions and adjust the cap as needed. The loan cap for the current year is $500,000 per borrower, and for the third quarter of 2023, the minimum loan discount is 2.5%.
These changes have made an immediate impact, and we’ve already seen record-breaking savings for our ag community over the past year.
In 2022, following these reforms, Ag-LINK saved Ohio farmers more than $2.3 million – setting a new single-year record. However, as high interest rates from the Fed continue to raise costs, Ag-LINK is making an even greater impact in 2023. In just the first six months of this year, we have more than doubled the savings from last year’s record-breaking year. Through the end of June, total savings through Ag-LINK have registered at more than $5.4 million for Ohio’s agricultural community.
By listening to the needs of Ohio’s farmers, agribusinesses, and co-ops, we’re ensuring that Ag-LINK remains relevant and useful for years to come.
As the growing season continues and we look toward the fall harvest, farmers, agribusinesses, and co-ops looking at financing options should talk to their financial institution about how Ag-LINK can help them save. More information on Ag-LINK, including how to get started, can be found on our website at https://www.tos.ohio.gov/ag-link/.
Robert Sprague is Ohio treasurer.