A new letter increases farmers' access to credit by 22%

Microloans for farmers

Microloans for farmers

What was the challenge?

Many farms in the United States, including smaller and newer enterprises, do not have access to credit needed to build and sustain operations. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) at USDA provides small amounts of credit (microloans) to qualified borrowers who have been unable to obtain commercial lender credit.

What was the program change?

We designed a letter that provided information on the benefits of the microloan program, a shortened URL for accessing more information online, and customized contact information directing each farmer to the loan officer in his or her home county.

How did the evaluation work?

FSA mailed the new letter to a sampling of farmers in randomly- selected zip codes, including individuals who had not previously participated in USDA programs or been a customer of FSA.

What was the impact?

The letters more than doubled the amount of microloan-related activity in FSA county offices, and increased the number of successful applicant from approximately .09% percent to .11% percent.

Related publications:





Project Type

Impact evaluation of program change




Economic Opportunity

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