USDA approves first loan under Highly Fractionated Indian Land Loan program

Agriculture Under Secretary Michael Scuse recently announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved and obligated the first loan under the Highly Fractionated Indian Land Loan (HFIL) program.

The program provides revolving loan funds to qualified intermediary lenders, allowing qualified tribes and individuals the ability to purchase tribal farmland that has multiple owners.

Scuse made the announcement during the recent Intertribal Agriculture Council Membership meeting in Las Vegas.

"This program was created to address a longstanding barrier to agricultural financing in Indian Country," cuse said. "Working with intermediary lenders, the program allows USDA to help increase the availability of farm loans to Native Americans who want to start or expand a farming or ranching operation on Indian lands."

The first recipient, the Native American Community Development Corporation Financial Services Inc. (NACDCFS) of Browning, Montana, will lend funds directly to tribal members through a $10 million intermediary HFIL loan from USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA).

NACDCFS addresses critical needs in Native American communities related to the growth of family assets, supports economic development, and enhances the quality of life for communities and residents located on or near Montana's seven Indian reservations.

There are more than 245,000 owners of 3 million fractionated land interests, spanning approximately 150 Indian reservations. Under HFIL, tribes and tribal members can submit an application directly to an intermediary lender. To participate, intermediary lenders first must be approved by USDA.

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