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Farm Credit Illinois believes in the future of farming and is demonstrating the cooperative's commitment to Helping the Next Generation of Farm Families Succeed by launching Fresh Roots.
Fresh Roots Brochure (pdf download)

Lending Assistance


  • Young and beginning farmers up to age 40 years or in their first 10 years of farming are eligible for Fresh Roots lending assistance.
  • The first 10 years of full-time farming is defined by the number of years an individual has filed a Schedule F tax form.
  •  If jointly applying for a loan under the Fresh Roots program, neither co-applicant can be both 41 years of age or more and have more than 10 years of full-time farming experience.


  • Five-year discounted interest rate on up to $1 million farm real estate loans and $500,000 operating loans – to find out today’s rate contact your local FCI office.
  • Relaxed lending standards
  • FCI will cover the cost of the FSA 1.5% guarantee fee on eligible farm real estate loans.

A completed balance sheet and business plan, including a projected cash flow statement, must be provided at application. Downloadable templates for these documents are available below:

      1. Balance Sheet
      2. Projected Cash Flow Statement
      3. Business Plan

Learning Incentives 
 View upcoming learning opportunities


Borrower-members up to age 40 or in their first 10 years of farming qualify for up to $2,000 in Fresh Roots learning incentives. Young and beginning farmers do not have to participate in Fresh Roots lending assistance to earn learning incentives.


Up to $2,000 in stipends are available to individual and married-couple borrower-members who attend three learning workshops within two years.

  • Receive $1,000 for attending a local farm financial analysis workshop.
  •  Earn two $500 stipends for attending any two Farm Credit College or Fielding Forward events.
  • For details on the next FCI educational workshop near you, visit   


All Fresh Roots individual and married-couple participants will be eligible for a $5,000 Directors Cup award once they’ve been an FCI member-borrower for at least three years.

  • Applicants will submit a formal application highlighting the personal growth and professional development they have pursued while participating in the Fresh Roots program.
  • An independent committee will select the annual recipients.
  • Up to eight farmers will be recognized annually beginning in 2019. Applications will be available in January 2019.