By Harriet Man, Senior Loan Officer, Arizona Farm Service Agency
Sam T. Begay was looking for ways to improve his cattle herd production. He needed to change his breeding program by adding Angus bulls, which ultimately would improve his marketability.
“It seemed like an impossible goal because it’s hard to obtain credit from local lenders to purchase cattle,” said Begay, who operates his ranch on a Navajo reservation in Pine Springs.
After learning about the Farm Service Agency microloan from an outreach meeting, Begay saw a way to turn impossible into possible.
FSA developed the microloan program to serve the unique financial operating needs of beginning, niche, and the smallest of family farm operations. These smaller farms and ranches often face limited financing options. The microloan offers access to up to $50,000 with a simplified application process and less stringent requirements associated with larger loans.
The microloan has helped Begay achieved his goal of having a 100 percent Angus beef breeding program. With the upgrade to his herd, his calves now bring top dollar prices, and allowed him to pay off his first microloan in full earlier than scheduled.
“The loan has helped me make tremendous improvements to my herd production and I look forward to a successful and viable operation,” said Begay.
Despite his success, Begay has suffered the effects of drought that has plagued parts of the Midwest and Western states. To help his herd survive, Begay applied for a second microloan to help with annual operating expenses and to purchase feed for his livestock.
“The loan provided my herd with plenty of supplemental feed,” said Begay. “Once again, FSA was there to meet my needs with timely assistance.”