Ducheneaux seeks simplification in USDA loan programs
Farm Service Agency administrator Zach Ducheneaux says USDA loan programs are convoluted and needs to be simplified. He says, “I think our farm loan programs need to emphasize structuring our relationship with our producers in a way that allows them to accumulate some working capital so that they have production income left at the end of the year so that they’re free to make choices.”
Ducheneaux tells Brownfield the programs are too extractive, and by changing financing terms to focus on what FSA can do for farmers, the agency will help set farmers up for more success. “Too often, we, in the process of doing our work, structure our capital with these producers so that they don’t have money left at the end of the year, and their relationship with the local lender is only how much can I borrow for the next production season.”
Ducheneaux tells Brownfield if he could change one thing today, it would be that FSA never uses its discretion to close a door, but to instead open the door and get producers into USDA programs and services. “And, stop treating all of our producers as though they’re the bad actors. We’ve got to get to a position of trusting our producers and it’s incumbent upon leadership to reexamine our programs and help our staff in the field feel supported in delivering them that way.”
Two of the goals under Ducheneaux’s leadership are to get the loan application paperwork from 29 pages down to less than twelve and to make it easier for different types of farm operations to utilize USDA funding sources and programs.
Ducheneaux spoke with Brownfield during the Wisconsin Farmers Union convention Saturday.