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Young farmers program accepting applications

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 DOVER — Applications are now being accepted for Delaware’s Young Farmers Loan Program, which provides no-interest loans to qualified farmers to help purchase land.

The application period runs through October 31, with $1.2 million in total funding available. Twenty-four individuals or couples have received more than $6 million in loans since the program began in 2012.

Eligible farmers must be between the ages of 18 and 40, have at least three years of farming experience and a net worth of no more than $300,000. The loan money is used to help purchase farmland in Delaware that contains at least 15 tillable acres zoned for agricultural use.

Farmers must actively use the land for agricultural purposes for the term of the loans. The 30-year, no-interest loans may fund up to 70 percent of the value of the property’s development rights, defined as the difference between full market value and agricultural value, up to a maximum of $500,000.

The land purchased with help through the program will also be permanently preserved as farmland through Delaware’s Agricultural Lands Preservation Program.

Interested applicants can visit the Department of Agriculture website, dda.delaware.gov, for an information and application packet, or contact Deputy Secretary Austin Short at 302-698-4500 or austin.short@state.de.us.

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