FAIR GROVE, Mo. -- With farmers still reeling with the cost of last year's drought, the federal government has stepped in to help. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week more loans will be available, but not all farmers say it's such a good idea.
The USDA's new "micro-loan" program would pay up to $35,000 to farmers, but there's mixed reaction. One farmer says it would put more farmers into debt down the road, but another says small USDA loans already help him.
Butch Morris says, when he couldn't get a loan through the banks, USDA loans paid for a barn to store feed for his cattle -- something that helped him to keep feeding during drought conditions.
Farmer Tom Huff says he also couldn't afford expensive feed because of the drought but, instead of a loan, he got rid of several cows to pay the bills. He says loans would've cost him more money.
That's why he says, as a farmer and president of the Greene County Farm Bureau, he's advocating for the government to provide more emergency assistance rather than loans.
"We need a farm bill passed and funded, and that would be more help than the offer of low-interest loans," Huff said.
Others say a small loan could help small farmers.
"With getting a one-point-something (percent) interest loan out of the USDA, it makes a lot of difference for these farmers getting started," Morris said.
The USDA says the new loans are meant to help those who want to start up or expand small farms, and while farmers agree the money could help, they disagree on how the government is offering it up.
To find out more information on the new micro-loan program, you can contact your local Farm Service Agency office.