USDA Business Loans: What are They? How Do They Work?

USDA Business Loans: What are They? How Do They Work?

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture guarantees business loans for small businesses, companies, nonprofits and other organizations located in rural communities. This program is known as the USDA Business and Industry program, and it’s a great source of affordable, long-term financing. In this guide, we cover what these loans can be used for, how you can qualify, what the terms and fees are and what the application process is like.

What are USDA Business Loans?

USDA Business Loans, formally referred to as USDA Business and Industry loans, are business loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These loans are made by lenders, such as banks or credit unions, to businesses in rural areas. A portion of the loan is guaranteed by the USDA. These loans are very similar to Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, but with a focus on promoting small businesses and creating jobs in rural communities.

These loans can be used for:

  • Business modernization, development or repair
  • Commercial real estate purchase, development or improvement
  • Machinery, equipment, supplies or inventory purchases
  • Working capital
  • Integrated agriculture production or processing facilities
  • Debt refinancing when it improves cash flow and creates or saves jobs
  • Business acquisition when the loan will create or save jobs

While not all businesses are eligible to apply, we think these loans are an excellent source of financing for businesses and nonprofits in rural areas. These loans come with a wide range of loan amounts, flexible use of funds, competitive interest rates and long terms.

How Do I Qualify for a USDA Business Loan?

Both new and existing businesses are eligible to apply for a USDA B&I loan. The USDA sets forth a specific set of minimum requirements for businesses to qualify for a business and industry loan, but your lender may require you to meet additional criteria. (more…)