USDA Loans for Fruit and Vegetable Cold Storage Facilities

Contact: Teresa Cuperus

MADISON: DATCP Secretary Rod Nilsestuen today called attention to new USDA loans available to strengthen local food networks by supporting cold storage facilities for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Strengthening the connection between farmers and consumers helps build rural economies and it gives people more access to fresh, healthy, local food, Secretary Rod Nilsestuen said, “I want to thank the USDA for making this program available to further build on Wisconsin’s excellent local food networks.”

Funding for cold storage facilities is a recent amendment to the USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, which builds on the 2008 Farm Bill.

To be eligible for the Farm Storage Facility Loan program, cold storage facilities must have a useful life of 15 years and include:
* New structures suitable for a cold storage facility
* New walk-in prefabricated permanently installed coolers suitable for storing fresh fruits and vegetables
* New permanently affixed cooling, circulating and monitoring equipment
* Electrical equipment integral to the proper operation of a cold storage facility
* An addition or modification to an existing storage facility.

USDA will not make cold storage facility loans for portable structures or structures unsuitable for storing fresh fruits and vegetables.

The maximum amount for each Farm Storage Facility loan is $500,000. For more information on this program or other FSA farm programs please contact your local FSA county office or
As a leader in local food systems, Wisconsin has developed a vibrant local food economy. Wisconsin is home to the largest producer-only farmers market in the country, is ranked in the top 5 for states with the highest number of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, and has seen an increase in retail and institutional purchasing of local food products.

In addition, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection administers the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program, an economic development program designed to increase the purchase of Wisconsin grown/produced food products for sale to local purchasers. The program has several key components including a grants program, an advisory group, and many technical assistance projects for producers. The BLBW program supports the work of other DATCP local food programs such as: Something Special from Wisconsin,, and the AmeriCorps Farm to School Program.

For more information on these programs visit and search “buy local.”

Download the loan program file