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How Much Will USDA Approve me for?

The United States Department of Agriculture provides various loan programs supporting agricultural projects and rural businesses. These are, therefore, instrumental USDA loans for farmers, ranchers, and rural entrepreneurs seeking financial help to initiate, expand, or improve operations. To find out the amount of loan, USDA will approve you for several considerations will include the kind of loan, your financial situation, and the kind of project in question. Keep reading.

by | Jul 10, 2024

How Much Will USDA Approve Me For?

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The United States Department of Agriculture provides various loan programs supporting agricultural projects and rural businesses. These are, therefore, instrumental USDA loans for farmers, ranchers, and rural entrepreneurs seeking financial help to initiate, expand, or improve operations. 

To find out the amount of loan, USDA will approve you for several considerations will include the kind of loan, your financial situation, and the kind of project in question. Keep reading.

Types of USDA Loans

The USDA administers several loan programs, some of which are more important and relevant to the financing needs of farmers and rural businesses. These USDA rural development programs include the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Rural Development (RD) Business Loans. Each of these USDA home loan programs has distinct eligibility criteria and program purposes.

FSA loans include Direct Farm Ownership Loans, Direct Farm Operating Loans, and Guaranteed Farm Loans for land, equipment, livestock, and operational costs.

Business Loans include the Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantee Program. This program guarantees loans that further support businesses and industries in rural areas. The business and industry program is designed to help strengthen business development and improve the state of rural economics.

Income and Financial Requirements

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Financial health is one of the most significant factors in the amount of loan the USDA approves. Before approval, the USDA considers the borrower’s credit history and repayment ability. You must demonstrate sufficient income to cover the periodic loan payment.

The USDA examines your company’s financial statements, including revenue, expenditures, and operating income. The company must promise to make good on the guaranteed loans and the facility to keep operations running.

Credit Score and Credit History

A good credit history will open up more possibilities for you and enable you to get better terms with the FSA loan. If you have a poor credit history, the USDA may still consider your application, provided you demonstrate other strengths, such as a good income or collateral.

With RD Business Loans, most lenders look for that 680 mark.  According to Experian, a credit score of more than 700 will increase your chances for approval while reducing the cost of borrowing.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

This is your monthly debt payment compared to your monthly income. A USDA loan is all about your DTI ratio. A low ratio suggests that much of your income can remain open for new debt settlements, thus increasing the amount you can be approved for the loan.

For FSA loans, a DTI ratio below 40% is generally preferred. Your monthly debt payments, including the new loan, should not exceed 40% of your gross monthly income. For example, if your monthly income is $5,000, your total debt payments should be less than $2,000.

RD Business Loans also consider the business’s DTI ratio. A strong cash flow and manageable debt levels can improve your chances of approval and allow for a higher loan amount. In 2021, rural businesses with a DTI ratio below 41% were more likely to secure B&I loans.

Project Eligibility

Factoring vs Tangible Assets

There are specific rules regarding what type of project the USDA loan will be used to finance. The project should be related to agricultural production or farming venture operations for FSA loans. These include buying or selling farmland, livestock, equipment, and other expenses associated with running the farm. The primary goal of the USDA is to promote initiatives that contribute to increased and improved agricultural production.

RD Business Loans promote the economic development of rural areas. The target sectors are business enlargement, commercial property, acquisitions of plant and equipment, and general working capital requirements. The project should create job opportunities in rural areas and economically benefit the local population.

Loan Limits

USDA home loan limit depends on the program and the intended use of the loan. As of 2023, the maximum amount allowable for FSA Direct Farm Ownership Loans is $2.236 million. Direct Farm Operating Loans are eligible for up to $600,000. The last kind of loan provided for farms, Guaranteed Farm Loans, can reach $400,000.

The B&I program offers loan limits of up to $25 million. The amount varies with the business’s solvency, the size and nature of the project, and repayment capacity. The average B&I loan amount in 2023 was about $2.5 million.

The Application Process

The process for a USDA loan application involves several stages. First, one chooses the loan program that they want. For FSA loans, contact the local USDA service center, where you’ll meet a specialist and fill out the application. On the other hand, for RD Business Loans, look for a USDA lender recognized in B&I.

Gather the required documents, including your financial statements, tax returns, business plans, and credit reports. Submit the completed application form to the USDA or the approved lender. The review process includes verifying the financial information and feasibility of the project and making eligibility determinations.

This can take several weeks to months, depending on the application itself and the project’s complexity. On average, FSA Loans take 45 working days, and RD Business Loans take a maximum of 60 working days for approval. Patience and complete preparation can help get it done smoothly.

Interest Rates and Fees

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The rates offered for these loans by the USDA are highly competitive and will undoubtedly be lower than conventional loans. The FSA itself manages the interest rates fixed by the USDA. They vary depending on market conditions and the type of loan.

Fees on USDA loans vary based on the program, too. FSA loans typically include few fees, though you’ll likely pay the application and servicing fees. Guarantee fees may be assessed based on the percentage of the loan amount. For example, the USDA charges 1.5% of its guarantee fee on FSA loans.

Benefits of USDA Loans

The interest rates are very competitive and will help borrowers save vast sums of interest during the loan. Also, these loans tend to come with a more extended repayment period than conventional ones, thereby reducing the burden of monthly payments. For example, Farm Ownership Loans can have a repayment period extending up to 30 years, and that of B&I programs can be up to 40 years.

Another flexible feature of USDA loans is the credit score requirement. It is friendly to those who have failed to meet this feature with conventional financing. In return, this inclusivity helps many people in rural entrepreneurship and farming, thus helping economic development in underserved areas.

Tips for Getting Approved

To prevent rejection, you must first research your desired USDA loan program. Ensure to understand the qualification. And then prepare. Produce all the financial statements, tax returns, business plans, and credit reports, among other required documentation.

Credit score and debt-to-income ratio are two essential things to maintain. In most cases, getting rid of debt beforehand and cleaning your credit report helps the application. This also includes having a well-documented business plan that demonstrates to your lender a clear understanding of the project and feasibility, along with projected income and expenses.

Another tip is to work with a USDA-approved lender or local USDA service center. They will walk you through getting all the proper paperwork to help you make the application successful.

The Role of USDA in Rural Development

Navigating the Due Diligence Process and Associated Costs

The USDA programs have been vital in rural development regarding the loans provided. With low-cost funding, the USDA ensures that agricultural productivity and economic growth are not at a standstill in rural areas.

In 2023, the USDA loan program mobilized over $1.8 billion in investments in Rural America, which has generated improved infrastructure, created employment, and promoted sustainable development in the affected directions.

Also, USDA loans spur modernization and innovation. By financing the installation of renewable energy sources, viable farming technologies, and sustainable practices, the USDA helps rural areas meet the daily challenges they face.

Flaney Capital understands how to get farmers, ranchers, and rural entrepreneurs the financing they need to grow. Our experts will walk you through every step of this USDA loan process. Contact us to learn more.  Call 1-888-822-0844. 

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Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

What are the main advantages of ABL loans?
ABL loans allow companies to use their existing assets as collateral for financing, providing greater flexibility than traditional lending methods.
Are there any risks associated with ABL loans?
Yes, if a business cannot repay its loan, the lender may seize the assets used as collateral. Businesses need to understand this risk before opting for an ABL loan.
How does accounts receivable factoring work for ABL loans?
In accounts receivable factoring within the context of ABL loans, a business sells its outstanding invoices (accounts receivable) at a discount to obtain immediate cash.
What is involved in the due diligence process for obtaining an ABL loan?
The due diligence process typically involves assessing a company’s financial health, including reviewing its balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement, among other things.
Can all types of companies apply for an ABL loan?
While any company can apply for an ABL loan, it is particularly beneficial for those with a high volume of accounts receivable or significant tangible assets.