Beginning Farmer Case Study: Carlos Alvarado, Sr.


Carlos Alvarado, Sr., owner of Los Dos Potrillos, applied for a $30,000 Farm Service Agency Direct Farm Operating Loan. He used the loan to buy a tractor for harvesting hay and alfalfa.

Operation

I currently have a few animals, but my main focus is raising Friesian horses and other exotic animals that are not commonly known in Nebraska. I also grow melons, watermelons, and sweet corn.

Challenges

I had many challenges over the past few years, especially during the flooding. All the soil that we had bought to help even out our property was swept away by the rain this past spring. I lost some pheasants and some fruit trees.

Recommendations to USDA agents

Before this year’s flood occurred, we didn’t know anything about the flood relief offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I would recommend agents make it known by highlighting such information on social media, billboards, and television advertisements as a public service before any disasters occur.

The Spanish webpage should reflect the same information as the English version. When I looked for information on USDA’s Spanish webpage, all I saw were fact sheets and other important information. I would like to see stories about other Latino farmers or current press releases with upcoming services.

Advice to someone considering a Farm Service Agency loan for their business

I suggest to anyone who is looking for a loan to talk to Farm Service Agency, because their interest rates are lower, and they are willing to work with you. The agents were knowledgeable, friendly, and willing to help us understand the loan process.

I usually work until 5 p.m. I asked for a couple of hours off, and the agent was very flexible and accommodating with me during the application process. The agent had all the paperwork ready when I went to the appointment. My experience was a positive one.

This case study was produced with funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially-Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (2501 Program) and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program. The Center for Rural Affairs is an equal opportunity provider and employer.