USDA readies Web-based loan system

USDA readies Web-based loan system

The Agriculture Department has completed implementing its Farm Business Plan accounting system, which modernizes delivery of loan services to farmers and ranchers. The system was on view at Agriculture’s IT Showcase earlier this week.

Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency can document a borrower’s cash flow, expenses, assets, debts and financial information to track the success of their business. Currently, only county offices can access the Farm Business Plan. The system reaches over 2,000 offices.

The new Web application replaces a patchwork of paper forms and a legacy accounting system. Farmers and ranchers will have access to the accounting system via the Internet in early 2005, allowing them to view and update their business records from home or office instead of making trips to the service centers.

FSA loans or provides guarantees totaling $4 billion annually to farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers who are unable to obtain commercial credit to buy new farms, feed and fertilizer. ECI of Glenwood, Iowa, provides the Web Equity Manager, which operates the Farm Business Plan.

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