Program Name: First-Time Farmer (Aggie) Bond
Organization: Illinois Finance Authority
Address: 160 N. LaSalle St., Suite 100-S
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 651-1300
Fax: (312) 651-1350
TDD: (800) 717-6066
Briefly Describe the Purpose of the Program
The purpose of the First-Time Farmer Bond Program is to provide affordable financing to new, low net worth farmers for financing capital purchases. IFA works with the borrower’s local lender to provide this financing. IFA issues a tax exempt bond for the amount and with the terms of the loan. Because the interest income to the lender is exempt from federal income tax, the lender is able to charge a lower rate to the borrower. The loan and the bond are secured solely by the collateral required by the lender and are not obligations of IFA or of the State of Illinois. Because the lender assumes all credit risk, the lender makes all credit decisions.
Year Program Established: 1983
Eligibility Requirements or Restrictions:

  • Net worth. The applicant must have net worth of not more than $500,000 at the time of application.  Net worth is defined as total assets less total liabilities of the individual and the individual’s spouse and minor children, if any.
  • Residency. The applicant must be a permanent resident of Illinois when the bond is issued.
  • Age. The applicant must be at least eighteen (18) years of age when the IFA loan application is submitted.
  • Individuals. The applicant must be an individual.  IFA cannot loan money to corporations, partnerships, trusts, or any other legal entity under the Beginning Farmer Program.
  • Capital Requirements. The applicant may be required to document to the satisfaction of the Lender and IFA that he will have access to adequate working capital, farm equipment, and livestock, if appropriate.
  • Limited Prior Ownership. The applicant must not have had any prior direct or indirect ownerhsip interest in a substantial amount of land.  A substantial amount of land is a parcel that exceeds 30% of the median farm size in the county in which the land is located.
Application Deadline: One month prior to monthly scheduled Board Meeting (second Tuesday)
Application Guidelines: Applications and Program Summary can be located on the website at
Funding Cap Per Application or Fiscal Year Program Funding: Funds are allocated annually beginning January 1 and are available until allocation is drawn down to a zero balance. Maximum loan limits are determined annually. See website for amount
How Must Funds Be Used:
Loans may be used to acquire agricultural land, new depreciable property, or used depreciable property in conjunction with agricultural land.