Calling the current economic situation “complicated” would be an understatement. From 40-year high inflation and skyrocketing energy prices to ongoing supply chain issues and rising interest rates, Ohio’s families and job creators are facing unprecedented challenges.
And with this year’s growing season underway, our farmers are especially feeling the strain.
While they face no shortage of roadblocks this year, the Treasurer’s office is ready to offer support.
For more than three decades, our Ag-LINK program has helped farmers and agribusinesses drive down the cost of doing business by providing interest rate reductions on new or existing loans. Borrowers use Ag-LINK to finance upfront operating costs for feed, seed, fertilizer, fuel, and other expenses.
Over the last year, I’ve traveled across the state to speak directly with farmers, cooperatives, financial institutions, and others in the agriculture community to hear more about how inflation and other economic challenges are impacting the industry.
While Ag-LINK has a long track-record of success and remains widely popular, my takeaway from these conversations was clear – we could do more.
In previous years, the Ag-LINK application period only lasted a few months. But now, for the first time ever, the applications will be accepted year-round. Transitioning to a year-long application period provides borrowers with greater flexibility and ensures they can access capital whenever they need it most.
This change also makes Ag-LINK more convenient for both crop and livestock farmers with diverse borrowing needs.
As part of our recently passed Ohio Gains legislation, the Treasurer’s office has modernized our investment strategies to generate further cost savings opportunities for the agriculture community.
We’ve updated Ag-LINK to improve accessibility and convenience, while making the program more relevant to the ever-evolving borrowing needs of today’s agriculture industry – helping farmers to save more money during these uncertain economic times.
Included in the legislation is the addition of agricultural cooperatives (co-ops) as eligible borrowers under Ag-LINK.
Co-ops face many of the same challenges as other farmers and agribusinesses that are already served through Ag-LINK. Opening the program to co-ops further recognizes their valuable contributions to Ohio’s economy and agriculture industry.
Additionally, the legislation removed outdated caps on loan size, allowing the program to keep pace with modern borrowing needs.
As we’ve heard from farmers across the state, lowered borrowing costs can make the difference between being in the black or being in the red.
With interest rates rising, the rate reduction offered through Ag-LINK becomes even more meaningful.
The Treasurer’s office will review Ag-LINK’s interest rate reduction on a quarterly basis, based on economic conditions. This will ensure that Ag-LINK reflects changes in the interest rate environment and remains relevant and impactful for the farmers who use it.
Through these reforms, we’re cutting bureaucratic red tape and taking Ag-LINK to the next level. We’re proud to support Ohio’s agriculture community, and with these modernization efforts, Ag-LINK is ready to serve the Buckeye State’s next generation of farmers.
For more information, please visit www.ohiotreasurer.gov/Ag-LINK.
Robert Sprague is Treasurer of the State of Ohio.