WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) today introduced the Beginning Agriculturist Lifetime Employment (BALE) Act. This legislation will help ensure that agricultural producers – especially those just getting started – have access to credit to expand or diversify their operations. It builds on a provision sponsored by Bost in the 2018 Farm Bill to increase caps on conservation, ownership, and operator loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Guaranteed and Direct Loan Programs.

“Sky-high inflation and supply chain challenges have made it even more expensive for our Southern Illinois farmers to build their businesses, especially those just starting out,” said Bost. “I was proud to lead this effort in the 2018 Farm Bill and will continue fighting to help ensure that the farmers who feed our nation can access the financing they need.” 

The BALE Act will:

  • Increase lending caps on conservation, ownership and operator loans from $1.75 million (as authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill) to $3 million.
  • Qualified beginning farmer and ranchers will see a 95% loan guarantee.
  • All other guaranteed loans will have a 90% guarantee.
  • Factors the guarantee down 1% per $100,000 over $3 million.
  • Sets the maximum loan at $4 million with an 85% guarantee for qualified beginning farmers and ranchers and an 80% guarantee for all other guaranteed loans.

Supported by: American Bankers Association, Farm Credit Council, Independent Community Bankers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association, CoBank, National Rural Lenders Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Milk Producers Federation, USA Rice Federation, and Wisconsin Corn Growers Association.