Ohio legislators proposing to expand Ag-LINK

Ohio legislators are proposing to expand the Agricultural Linked Deposit program, or Ag-LINK, which offers farm operators an interest-rate reduction on loans and lines of credit through the Ohio treasurer’s office. House Bill 415, along with its companion, Senate Bill 281, would increase the amount the state treasury sets aside each

year for the program from $125 million to $165 million. It also would increase the amount applicants can receive, from $100,000 to $150,000.

The interest-rate reductions help farmers invest in seeds, feed, fertilizer, fuel and other operating expenses. Since its inception in 1985, Ag-LINK has loaned about $2.8 billion to more than 40,000 Ohio farmers.

Last year, more than 800 farmers in 67 counties took advantage of the program. The bills’ sponsors, Rep. Robert

Sprague, R-Findlay, Rep. Brian Hill, R-Zanesville, and Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, said they hope a bigger investment in Ohio agricultural businesses will create more jobs and boost the economy.

The application period for loans opened in mid January. Lending institutions can apply on behalf of prospective borrowers through March 9.

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