Farmers needing assistance with creating a farm business plan or with their U.S. Department of Agriculture direct loan application packet can get help from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Small Farm Program.

Stephan Walker, a multicounty agent, is assigned to assistant farmers in the area, according to a news release.

“Area Extension associates throughout the state are ready to help,” said Director Henry English of the UAPB Small Farm Program.

English suggests that farmers submit their loan packages early as funding is on a first-come, first-served basis.

“If an application is denied for whatever reason, including a lack of funds, farmers will have time to successfully seek other options,” English said.

Farm or ranch business plans are for the producer, not only for bankers or lenders. The plan should identify how much money will be needed to run the operation and how much money the producer can expect to make on his/her operation. It should identify the cost per acre or cost per livestock animal and the producer’s break-even price.

Associates will help farmers develop a balance sheet and the projected/actual income and expenses for their operation. To complete the balance sheet, a list of all debts and their amounts is needed along with a list of assets and their estimated values. Farmers should bring this information with them along with their expenses, income records and average yields from 2017, 2016 and 2015. These will be used to complete the production and financial histories.

Associates will go over the Farm Service Agency (FSA) application package checklist with producers to insure their application packets are complete. Once submitted, if an item is missing, the producer will be contacted and have 20 days to submit the missing information. If not done so after 20 days, the producer will be contacted and given another 10 days to do so. Failure to do so will result in the application being withdrawn, and the producer must start over, English said.

To schedule an appointment, call a local Extension associate or the UAPB Small Farm Program office at 870- 575-7246. Extension associates include Stephan Walker, multicounty agent — 870-575-7237 or, Cleveland, Dallas, Desha, Grant, Lincoln, Lonoke and Jefferson counties; Kandi Williams – 903-306-8663 or, Hempstead, Howard, Little River, Miller and Sevier counties; Alexis Cole — 870-630-2005 or Cross, Crittenden, Lee, Phillips and St. Francis counties; Travis Collins – 870-355-7007 or, Ashley, Drew and Chicot counties.