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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 628 POTATO GROWER People Product News USDA Expands Microloans To Include Farmland Purchases Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA will begin offering farm ownership microloans creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans will help beginning or underserved farmers U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming and those who have small and mid-sized farming opera- tions the agency said. Since 2013 the microloan program has provided more than 16800 low- interest loans totaling over 373 mil- lion to producers across the country according to an agency press release. Micro-loans have been used for oper- ating costs such as feed fertilizer tools fencing equipment and living expenses. Seventy percent of loans have gone to new farmers the USDA said. Now micro-loans will be available to also help with farm land and building purchases and soil and water conser- vation improvements. The USDA Farm Service Agency FSA designed the expanded program to simplify the application process expand eligibility requirements and expedite smaller real estate loans the agency said. Microloans provide up to 50000 to qualified producers and can be issued to the applicant directly from FSA. To learn more about the FSA microloan program visit the USDA Farm Service Agency website or con- tact your local FSA office. Innate Second Generation Potato Receives FDA Safety Clearance The Food and Drug Administration has completed its food and feed safety assessment of the J.R. Simplot Companys second generation of Innate potatoes. The FDA concluded that these Russet Burbank Generation 2 potatoes are not materially different in composi- tion safety and other relevant parame- ters from any other potato or potato- derived food or feed currently on the market according to a company press release. Simplot will still need to com- plete its registration with the EPA for these potatoes before introducing them for sale in the U.S. marketplace.