PIERRE - The South Dakota Agriculture Department says it can help beginning farmers buy land at lower interest rates through a bond program.

The Beginning Farmer Bond program works through a local bank to finance a land purchase. The bond program allows a lender to get tax-exempt interest for a loan or contract sale, and that lowers the interest rate paid by a beginning farmer.

To take part in the program, a beginning farmer must be a South Dakota resident at least 18 years old and have a net worth of less than $400,000. The maximum amount of a beginning farmer bond is $501,100 for calendar year 2013.

The South Dakota Agriculture Department administers the program through the Value-Added Finance Authority board, which reviews applications and issues bonds for approved projects.

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