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Nevada's experiment with early caucusing is underway until tomorrow. Some candidates plus some Nevada Culinary Workers Union Local 226 members oppose Medicare for All, but Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders defends it, with a study just published making the case for it.

MT Beginning Farmers Get Helping Hand in Acquiring Land

January 30, 2012

HELENA, Mont. - Money and land are usually listed as the top obstacles for beginning farmers and ranchers in Montana, and now there's a new program through the U.S. Farm Service Agency designed to help find a way around those barriers.

Traci Bruckner, assistant director of the rural policy program with the Center for Rural Affairs, says the Land Contract Guarantee program provides a safety net that benefits both the seller and the buyer for 10 years.

"The government will guarantee that land sale, to give them a little bit of an incentive to work with a beginner or socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher."

Bruckner says the paperwork is minimal, and the Center for Rural Affairs is offering free assistance.

The buyer must be a beginning or socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher with a good credit history, but unable to obtain credit elsewhere. Bruckner says that's a common situation.

"Oftentimes, beginning farmers have a hard time getting capital from a traditional bank and so, if they can find someone to work with, who'll think about how to help the next generation, rather than working with the top bidder, it can help."

The seller carries the contract, rather than a bank, and there are two types of guarantees: a prompt payment guarantee, or an asset guarantee that covers 90 percent of the outstanding principle balance. Buyers have to put at least five percent down, and there are limits on the total amount of the sale.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT