WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency is offering a one-time annual installment payment deferral option for Farm Storage Facility Loan borrowers experiencing financial hardship from the pandemic and other challenges in production agriculture.

No fees or prepayment penalties apply for borrowers who choose this loan flexibility option.

“Farmers are facing challenging times because of the pandemic, and FSA is constantly looking for ways to offer flexibilities to our customers to help alleviate financial stressors,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce in a statement. “This storage facility loan servicing option affords eligible borrowers more time to make a payment and may stop loan acceleration, foreclosure or liquidation.”

Eligible borrowers can request a one-time only annual installment payment deferral for loans having terms of three, five, seven or 10 years. The installment deferral option is not available for 12-year term loans.

The FSFL installment payments will remain the same, except for the last year. The original loan interest rate and annual payment due date will remain the same. However, because the installment payment deferral is a one-year loan term extension, the final payment will be higher due to additional accrued interest.

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Borrowers interested in exercising the one-time annual installment deferral option should contact FSA to make the request and to obtain, complete and sign required forms.

FSFLs provide low-interest financing for producers to store, handle and transport eligible commodities.