Financial Management Education for Farm Service Agency Credit Clientele

William Edwards, Faculty, Economics


Many farm families, especially beginning farmers, cannot qualify for credit from conventional agricultural lenders. They may be eligible for credit through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), but direct FSA borrowers are required to complete an educational course dealing with farm financial management. No educational institutions in Iowa offer an applicable course that is easily accessible to this clientele group.


1) To provide practical education in farm and family financial management to FSA borrowers in a format that is easily accessible to them throughout the state at their convenience. 2) To certify that at least 30 FSA clientele have completed the financial management educational requirements each year for 3 years.


1) An Internet-based home study course titled “Financial Decision Making” was created and made available through the Agricultural Management e-School (AMES). 2) 105 Farm Service Agency borrowers enrolled in the course. 3) 34 borrowers completed the course in 2004-05 and met the FSA eligibility requirement 4) 51 borrowers are in the process of completing the course.


Thirty-four farm families are now fully eligible to receive direct loans from the Farm Service Agency, which will allow them to finance and grow their farming operations. They have demonstrated increased knowledge of financial management skills through completion of quizzes and learning activities. One hundred percent of those completing the FSA evaluation of Financial Decision Making said that, "The topics covered in class were helpful to me in my business," and that they "...would recommend the course to someone else."


104 -- Agricultural Risk and Financial Management

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