The US Department of Agriculture is offering farm ownership microloans for farmers to buy and improve property. The low interest microloans have helped small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers with operating and living expenses since 2013 but they can now also be used to help with farm land and building purchases and soil and water conservation improvements. The program application has been simplified. The eligibility requirements have been expanded and small real estate loans can be expedited to help farmers strengthen their operations. Microloans provide up to $50,000 to qualified producers and can be issued directly from the USDA Farm Service Agency. For more information contact the Mitchell-Yancey FSA office in Spruce Pine or call 682-0774 or 765-5049.