Good Fruit Grower

January 15

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Page 30 of 47 Good Fruit Grower JANUARY 15, 2015 31 Toll Free: 855-855-0318 • We've got you COVERED! CALL TODAY for the dealer nearest YOU! next generation improve and refi ne their fi nancial and management skills." AgVision loan recipients are in the program for six years before graduating to regular Northwest Farm Credit loans. "Our goal is to get the beginning producer off to a good start fi nancially, and in six years, their balance sheets are strong enough to qualify through our regular underwriting channels," said Knopp. Since AgVision's inception in 2001, more than $400 million in AgVision loans and more than $500,000 of reimbursements have been made to Northwest Farm Credit member-owners, according to Knopp. Northwest Farm Credit's AgVision program currently has around 1,200 customers and graduates 80 to 90 producers each year. But even with AgVision's reduced underwriting standards, loan fee waivers, and partnering with other loan sources, Northwest Farm Credit was turning away some beginning growers, Knopp said. "We've had some applicants that we had to deny—not because they didn't have a solid business plan—but because they didn't have enough business history and fi nancial strength. "We've had instances where we had to say no, but thought, 'Gosh, I wish I could have made that loan.' The applicant was so passionate and had a solid business plan but didn't meet even AgVision loan standards." JumpStart That's why JumpStart was developed—to reach those who couldn't qualify under AgVision, Knopp explained. Northwest Farm Credit launched JumpStart in October 2013. The program offers interest-only operating loans to provide working capital to help beginning growers estab- lish their businesses. Up to $100,000 can be borrowed for down payments, annual operating expenses, or capital purchases. To qualify, growers need at least one year of relevant management experience; the operation must be in the start-up phase; a solid business plan must be developed; and the producer must be independent and not affi liated with another established operation unless the business plan includes transitioning farm assets and full management responsibilities. JumpStart also has a mentoring program to help cus- tomers develop fi nancial management skills. Customers work closely with Northwest Farm Credit relationship managers who help customers analyze income and expenses and assist with management decisions. JumpStart customers also receive all the benefi ts of the AgVision program and may be reimbursed for up to $1,500 for purchases made toward technology and con- tinuing education. For JumpStart's inaugural year in 2014, Northwest Farm Credit provided loans to more than ten diversifi ed producers who otherwise would have been denied. Program results have exceeded Knopp's expectations. • MORE INFO To learn more about JumpStart or AgVision, call Northwest Farm Credit Services at (800) 827-6505 or visit their website at:

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