Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Friday establishing a small business loan program for farming equipment purchases and dairy farm operations. The program will be administered by the Economic Development Authority.
Sponsored by Assemblymen Hal Wirths and Ron Dancer, the bill allows two or more farming businesses to apply to purchase equipment and permits dairy farmers to use the funds to support their work.
“There’s no way around it. Modern farm equipment is very expensive,” said Wirths. “The federal government has a loan program for farmers, but the thin profit margins can make the short loan durations impractical. This law will provide more farmer-friendly loans.”
The loans can be especially useful for value-added dairy operations producing products such as cheese, cultured sour cream, concentrated milk, yogurt, butter and ice cream. Dairy farmers who produce these products can use the funds for any aspect of their small business.
“In the Garden State, farms are a big part of our identity,” said Dancer. “This program and the loans could be the difference in farms remaining in business or shutting down and selling out to developers.”
The bill passed the Legislature on June 20. Sen. Steve Oroho sponsors the Senate version.