MO Family Farms Look for Livestock Loans
Farmer Tony Whitehead raises 200 dairy cattle on the family farm.
"I'm in partnership with my dad, and grandfather at the time," Whitehead said. "And it's just between myself and my dad now."
Now, Whitehead said Missouri's proposed family farm bill would keep other generations in farming, too.
"Somebody's going to graduate high school or college and wants to come back home," he explained, "it's going to be making it a lot easier for them to borrow some money and maybe make a partnership with their parents or grandparents."
The bill's co-sponsor, Republican Rep. Maynard Wallace of Thornfield, said the bill could help family farms that have financial problems. His bill defines small farmers as Missouri residents with gross sales of less than $250,000 a year.
The bill gives eligible small farmers a year of zero interest when they take out a loan to buy breeding livestock. A family can borrow up to $75,000 for dairy or beef cattle, with lenders able to write off loans as tax credits.
With livestock interest rates at 5-7% a year, Whitehead said it's important to keep the business alive.
"You get in an equity position and it's a lot easier to go back to the bank and say, 'Here, look what I've done.'"
The Missouri House has passed the bill unanimously.