Note: The application cycle for 2012 is now closed.
The VFC Board of Directors is pleased to announce a new Microlending Initiative. Through this program, an individual or farm is eligible for an interest-free loan of up to $3000, to be paid back within one year. The Microlending Initiative was developed under the direction of the Board of Directors by the “Microlending Committee,” which consists of two VFC Board members and two VFC Managers.
“The Board decided to look at how to make our Cooperative more resilient,” said Steve Tippins, VFC Board President. “One way to do that is to make sure that we have many strong, local suppliers. By starting a microlending program we hope to help small businesses grow and prosper and ensure that VFC owners have products from local businesses.”
Interest-free loans are opposite of the normal cycle all too many farmers find themselves in – the cycle of high interest loans, debt, and the inability to reach financial security and true economic viability through their business. VFC’s intention is to share the resources that we have to better enable farmers to provide us with the food and resources needed to live a healthy life.
Microfinance — the granting of very small loans — is a concept most closely associated with the developing world. But tight credit and the recession have increased the demand for smaller loans in the United States, giving microlending a higher profile and broadening its appeal.
Proposals are evaluated on the criteria listed below. The Microlending Committee will make the final selection. The application cycle for 2012 is now closed.
Criteria that are considered as part of the application are:
- Mission and status of the farm
- Demonstrated need, and a plan for implementation of the loan
- Nature of relationship between VFC and the farm
- Status as an active distributor of produce to VFC and/or the Viroqua Farmer’s Market
- Proven track record on effectively managing & paying back loans/investments as demonstrated in application
- Clear strategy and plan for repayment
- Mission, values, and practices of the farm furthers VFC’s Mission & Ends