An economic development organization on the Cheyenne River Reservation is now a lender for federal agriculture loans. The Four Bands Community Fund will make money available to Native American farmers and ranchers.
Loans from the federal Farm Service Agency provide guaranteed status that lowers the risk for the lender and opens up more capital.
Lakota Vogel is the Executive Director of the Four Bands Community Fund.
Vogel says the financial non-profit has worked on development opportunities for two decades but just recently started focusing on the agriculture sector.
She says leveraging the trust land on reservations can make it hard to secure money.
“There’s lots of issues when you’ve got all the bureaucracies at play, I guess, with the BIA managing a lot of the land, cause there’s appraisal processes that have to be followed when it’s trust land and it can take up to two years, sometimes, to get the proper appraisal for a conventional institution, which then inhibits the producer from getting access to capital.”
Vogel says they have the same delays as conventional institutions but can wait longer for a return on their investments.
Kristen Stambach is Director of Lending for the organization.
She says delays can cause major problems for Native American producers.
“One of the biggest barriers for capital is not being able to use your largest asset – your land – to get financing and we are seeing more and more lenders accept trust land, but if a producer is needing it fast, then that can be an issue.”
Stambach says the Farm Service Agency helps with higher risk loans by guaranteeing 90 percent of the amount allowing more flexibility.