By: Timothy Kays
Mr. Pat McCauley, Public Affairs Liaison for Ohio State Treasurer Robert Sprague, stopped by the Williams County Courthouse on the morning of August 5 to address the Board of Commissioners on the Agricultural Linked Deposit Program, or Ag-LINK.
According to the Treasurer’s website, Through Ag-LINK, Ohio farm operators and other agriculture businesses can apply for an interest rate reduction on a new or existing loan or line of credit up to $150,000. When an eligible participant’s application is accepted, the Ohio Treasurer’s office places an investment with the financial institution for one year. In turn, the lender lowers the interest rate on the farmer’s loan according to the rate reduction established annually by the Treasurer’s office. Since the beginning of Ag-LINK, more than 40,000 applications have been approved for over $3 billion in reduced-rate financing.
Eligible applicants represent a wide variety of businesses within the agriculture community, including but not limited to traditional farming, aquaculture, livestock, orchards, hydroponics, and in this case the businesses that supply or have direct dependencies on agriculture. In order to qualify for the Ag-LINK program the applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Must be organized for profit,
- Must have headquarters and 51% of operations maintained in Ohio,
- Must obtain an operating loan or line of credit from a participating bank or Farm Credit Services lender,
- Use the loan for agricultural related purposes, and
- Must agree to comply with all program and bank regulations.
“I’m just out letting everybody know that Treasurer Sprague, in light of the disastrous weather that the agriculture industry has experienced this spring and summer, has reopened the Ag-LINK program,” Mr. McCauley said. “Normally…applications for it are the first two months of the year. He has reopened this up until November 15. This will allow farmers, seed companies and implement companies, anybody associated with the agriculture business to be able to apply for loans of up to $150,000, at a reduced rate. Right now it’s about 2%.”
“So if it’s 5%, when I go in, it would be knocked down to 3% for that. It’s just the Treasurer’s way of trying to offer something that could be of assistance to those that have had disastrous seasons this year. So like I said, it’s open through November 15 now. The applicant would work with their financial institution to fill out the appropriate forms. I just want to get out the word as much as I can. I’ve been going around to all the different entities in my 23 county area, talking to the commissioners, the auditors, extension, SWCD, USDA, just to let them know that this is available again in the event that you may get questions.”
Commissioner Lewis Hilkert inquired, “I would think you have probably also set notifications out to the commercial banks in Ohio in regards to the program?” Mr. McCauley replied, “I found out in my travels here that most of the institutions that participate in the program are already aware of it being reopened. And if someone goes into an institution that does not participate in the program, that institution can call down to Columbus and get signed up for it as well. They’ll walk them through that to help them out so they can offer it as well if they choose to.”
“Like you said,” Commissioner Terry Rummel said, “…this is more widespread than just the local farmer. It’s the Ag companies and the implement dealers, and all those. Fuel dealers…this is huge.” Mr. McCauley closed by saying, “We’re just trying to do our best to help out those that need that assistance…that little extra there.”
Questions referencing the Ohio Ag-LINK program can be directed to Mr. McCauley at 614-381-8353.
Timothy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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