Local FSA Loan Officer Issues Nation’s First Farm Ownership Microloan

TN Microloan

FSA loan officer Brandon Shipley (right) congratulates livestock producer Brian Morgan on receiving the first Direct Farm Ownership Microloan in the Nation, at the Morgan’s family farm in Jefferson County, Tennessee.

Tennessee Family Farm Thrives with Help from FSA

By:  Michael Booth, Public Affairs Specialist, FSA Office of External Affairs

When the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced introduction of the Farm Ownership Microloan this year, FSA loan officer Brandon Shipley knew just who to call.

Shipley, who works out of the local FSA office in Jefferson County, Tennessee, had been working with local cattle producers, Brian and Wendee Morgan, for a number of years and knew they were trying to piece back together an old farm that had been divided up over the years.

The Morgans jumped at the chance to add another 4.78 acres of that original farm to their growing operation, which currently stands at nearly 45 acres with another 30 acres leased.

Shipley knew the microloan program, which now offers up to $50,000 for land purchases, was the right fit for the Morgans. What he didn’t know was that his quick action made the loan the first of its kind issued in the United States, that is until he received a note of thanks from FSA Administrator Val Dolcini. Dolcini thanked Shipley for working hard to make FSA loan programs so helpful to the farmers and ranchers of Tennessee.

Shipley says he appreciates the recognition, but also appreciates that FSA created a program that fits the needs of producers and helps them grow.

“I’ve been fortunate to have worked with the Morgans for several years now,” Shipley said. “I anticipate that their operation will continue to grow its income for the family, while supporting the ever growing beef cattle industry in Tennessee as well.”

For the Morgans, the FSA microloan represents a chance to continue to grow their operation and their dream of consolidating their farm, a plan that started five years ago when Brian Morgan bought his first piece of land near his home.

The Morgans are a true farm family, with their three daughters, ages 6, 13, and 19 all working on the farm, participating in 4-H, and active in their rural community. Mrs. Morgan is an elementary school teacher.  Mr. Morgan serves on the local Soil Conservation Board and works for a local electric cooperative.  Also, they both serve on the local Farm Bureau Board in Jefferson County.

The Morgans have worked hard to grow their family farm and have done it all with a simple motto to live by: “Life ain’t perfect but it sure is good,” said Mr. Morgan.

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