Supporting Wisconsin Agriculture
While WHEDA, originally Wisconsin Housing Finance Authority (WHFA), was created to provide affordable housing options for Wisconsin residents, the authority expanded its mission in 1983 to include business and agriculture financing. In response to the 1983 recession, programs were created to assist the state’s critical agricultural industry and small businesses. In honor of National Agriculture Month, WHEDA is celebrating the many contributions the agriculture industry has made to the state’s economy by highlighting programs that are available to assist farmers.
Agriculture has always been a significant contributor to Wisconsin’s economy as it generates billions of dollars of revenue each year. The state has nearly 70,000 farms that cover more than 14 million acres of land, providing well over 400,000 agriculture-related jobs with an increasing number of women entering the field. While Wisconsin reigns number one in American cheese production, the state also ranks first in the nation for producing and processing snap beans, cranberries, ginseng, corn silage, dry whey, and milk goats. These products are shipped all over the world and exported to more than 145 countries.*
In order to prosper, it is vital that Wisconsin farmers embrace new tools, technology, and ever-changing practices. Technological advances that have made positive impacts on the industry include: instruments such as drones that measure and monitor crop sunlight, moisture, and pesticide levels, tractors that communicate with manufacturers to replace parts and coordinate necessary maintenance, and self-driving tractors. All of these advancements have helped save valuable time and energy, while reducing farming costs and improving efficiency.
For nearly 40 years, WHEDA has supported farmers with various financial programs. WHEDA currently offers the following products as tools to assist farmers and agribusinesses continue to grow:
- Credit Relief Outreach Program (CROP) – provides loan guarantees for agricultural production.
- Farm Assistance Reinvestment Management Guarantee (FARM) – provides loan guarantees for producers looking to start, expand, or modernize their operations.
- Agricultural Production Disaster Assistance Loan Guarantee Program – provides loan guarantees to help producers recover from losses associated with natural disasters like flooding or drought.
- Agribusiness Guarantee (AGBG) – provides loan guarantees to assist new or existing businesses develop or expand production of products using Wisconsin’s raw agricultural commodities.
To ensure a sustainable and profitable industry, it is crucial that investments be made into businesses that manufacture products by using Wisconsin’s raw agricultural commodities like milk, honey, timber, and livestock. Startups and established businesses that are looking to expand their operations in agriculture continue to look to WHEDA for unique financing options through its Agribusiness Guarantee Program. Whether supporting new farming activities and technologies or offering relief in times of natural disasters, WHEDA wants to continue to be a resource for farm families that have been integral to the state’s economy.
(Updated March 18, 2022)