7 CFR § 4279.113 - Eligible uses of funds.
Eligible uses of funds must be consistent with § 4279.101(b) and § 4279.108(a) and include, but are not limited to, the following:
(a) Purchase and development of land, buildings, and associated infrastructure for commercial or industrial properties, including expansion or modernization.
(b) Business acquisitions provided that jobs will be created or saved. A business acquisition is considered the acquisition of an entire business, not a partial stock acquisition in a business.
(c) Leasehold improvements when the lease contains no reverter clauses or restrictive clauses that would impair the use or value of the property as security for the loan. The term of the lease must be equal to or greater than the term of the loan.
(d) Constructing or equipping facilities for lease to private businesses engaged in commercial or industrial operations. Financing for mixed-use properties, involving both commercial business and residential space, is authorized provided that not less than 50 percent of the building's projected revenue will be generated from business use.
(e) Purchase of machinery and equipment.
(f) Startup costs, working capital, inventory, and supplies in the form of a permanent working capital term loan.
(g) Debt refinancing when it is determined that the project is viable and refinancing is necessary to improve cash flow and create new or save existing jobs. Debt being refinanced must be debt of the borrower reflected on its balance sheet. The lender's analysis must document that, except for the refinancing of lines of credit, the debt being refinanced was for an eligible loan purpose under this subpart. Except as provided for in paragraph (j)(3) of this section, existing lender debt may be included provided that, at the time of application, the loan being refinanced has been closed and current for at least the past 12 months (current status cannot be achieved by the lender forgiving the borrower's debt or servicing actions that impact the borrower's repayment schedule), and the lender is providing better rates or terms. Unless the amount to be refinanced is owed directly to the Federal government or is federally guaranteed, existing lender debt may not exceed 50 percent of the overall loan.
(h) Takeout of interim financing. Guaranteeing a loan that provides for permanent, long-term financing after project completion to pay off a lender's interim loan will not be treated as debt refinancing provided that the lender submits a complete preapplication or application that proposes such interim financing prior to closing the interim loan. The borrower must take no action that would have an adverse impact on the environment or limit the range of alternatives to be considered by the Agency during the environmental review process. The Agency will not guarantee takeout of interim financing loans that prevent a meaningful environmental assessment prior to Agency loan approval. Even for projects with interim financing, the Agency cannot approve the loan and issue a Conditional Commitment until the environmental process is complete. The Agency assumes no responsibility or obligation for interim loans.
(i) Purchase of membership, stocks, bonds, or debentures necessary to obtain a loan from Farm Credit System institutions and other lenders provided the purchase is required for all of their borrowers and is the minimum amount required.
(j) Loans to cooperative organizations.
(1) Guaranteed loans to eligible cooperative organizations may be made in principal amounts up to $40 million if the project is located in a rural area, the cooperative facility being financed provides for the value-added processing of agricultural commodities, and the total amount of loans exceeding $25 million does not exceed 10 percent of the funds available for the fiscal year.
(2) Guaranteed loans to eligible cooperative organizations may also be made in non-rural areas provided:
(i) The primary purpose of the loan is for a facility to provide value-added processing for agricultural producers that are located within 80 miles of the facility;
(ii) The applicant satisfactorily demonstrates that the primary benefit of the loan will be to provide employment for rural residents;
(iii) The principal amount of the loan does not exceed $25 million; and
(iv) The total amount of loans guaranteed under this paragraph does not exceed 10 percent of the funds available for the fiscal year.
(3) An eligible cooperative organization may refinance an existing B&I loan provided the existing loan is current and performing; the existing loan is not and has not been in monetary default (more than 30 days late) or the collateral of which has not been converted; and there is adequate security or full collateral for the new guaranteed loan.
(k) The purchase of cooperative stock by individual farmers or ranchers in a farmer or rancher cooperative or the purchase of transferable cooperative stock in accordance with § 4279.115(a); or the purchase of stock in a business by employees forming an Employee Stock Ownership Plan or worker cooperative in accordance with § 4279.115(c).
(l) The purchase of preferred stock or similar equity issued by a cooperative organization or a fund that invests primarily in cooperative organizations in accordance with § 4279.115(b).
(m) Taxable corporate bonds when the bonds are fully amortizing and comply with all provisions of § 4279.126, and the bond holder (lender) retains 5 percent of the bond in accordance with § 4279.77. The bonds must be fully secured with collateral in accordance with § 4279.131(b). The bonds must only provide for a trustee when the trustee is totally under the control of the lender. The bonds must provide no rights to bond holders other than the right to receive the payments due under the bond. For instance, the bonds must not provide for bond holders replacing the trustee or directing the trustee to take servicing actions, such as accelerating the bonds. Convertible bonds are not eligible under this paragraph due to the potential conflict of interest of a lender having an ownership interest in the borrower.
(1) The bond issuer (borrower) must not issue more than 11 bonds, with no more than 10 of those bonds being guaranteed under this program. The bond issuer must obtain the services and opinion of an experienced bond counsel who must present a legal opinion stating that the bonds are legal, valid, and binding obligations of the issuer and that the issuer has adhered to all applicable laws.
(2) The bond holder must purchase all of the bonds and comply with all Agency regulations. There must be a bond purchase agreement between the issuer and the bond holder. The bond purchase agreement must contain similar language to what is required to be in a loan agreement in accordance with § 4279.161(b)(11) and must not be in conflict with subparts A or B of part 4279 or subpart B of part 4287 of this chapter. The bond holder is responsible for all servicing of the loan (bond), although the bond holder may contract for servicing assistance, including contracting with a trustee who remains under the lender's total control.
(n) Interest (including interest on interim financing) during the period before the first principal payment becomes due or when the facility becomes income producing, whichever is earlier.
(o) Fees and charges outlined in § 4279.120(a), (c) and (d).
(p) Feasibility studies.
(q) Agricultural production, when not eligible for Farm Service Agency (FSA) farm loan programs assistance and when it is part of an integrated business also involved in the processing of agricultural products. Any agricultural production considered for guaranteed loan financing must be owned, operated, and maintained by the business receiving the loan for which a guarantee is provided. Except for cooperative stock purchase loans in accordance with § 4279.115(a), independent agricultural production operations are not eligible, even if not eligible for FSA farm loan programs assistance.
(1) The agricultural-production portion of any loan must not exceed 50 percent of the total loan or $5 million, whichever is less.
(2) This paragraph does not preclude financing the following types of businesses:
(i) Commercial nurseries engaged in the production of ornamental plants, trees, and other nursery products, such as bulbs, flowers, shrubbery, flower and vegetable seeds, sod, and the growing of plants from seed to the transplant stage; and forestry, which includes businesses primarily engaged in the operation of timber tracts, tree farms, forest nurseries, and related activities, such as reforestation.
(ii) The growing of mushrooms or hydroponics.
(iii) The boarding and/or training of animals.
(iv) Commercial fishing.
(v) Aquaculture, including conservation, development, and utilization of water for aquaculture.
(r) Educational or training facilities.
(s) Industries undergoing adjustment from terminated Federal agricultural price and income support programs or increased competition from foreign trade.
(t) Community facility projects that are not listed as an ineligible loan purpose in § 4279.117.
(u) Nursing homes and assisted living facilities where constant medical care is provided and available onsite to the residents. Independent living facilities are considered residential in nature and are not eligible in accordance with § 4279.117(d).
(v) Tourist and recreation facilities, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfast establishments, and resort trailer parks and campgrounds, except as prohibited under ineligible purposes in § 4279.117.
(w) Pollution control and abatement.
(x) Energy projects that are not eligible for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) (7 CFR part 4280, subpart B), unless sufficient funding is not available under REAP, and when the facility has been constructed according to plans and specifications and is producing at the quality and quantity projected in the application. This does not preclude the guarantee of joint REAP/B&I projects. Eligible energy projects must be commercially available. Eligible energy projects also include those that reduce reliance on nonrenewable energy resources by encouraging the development and construction of solar energy systems and other renewable energy systems (including wind energy systems and anaerobic digesters for the purpose of energy generation), including the modification of existing systems in rural areas.
(1) Projects that produce renewable biomass or biofuel as an output must utilize commercially available technologies and have completed two operating cycles at design performance levels prior to issuance of a Loan Note Guarantee.
(2) Projects that produce steam or electricity as an output must have met acceptance test performance criteria acceptable to the Agency and be successfully interconnected with the purchaser of the output. An executed power purchase agreement acceptable to the Agency will be required prior to issuance of a Loan Note Guarantee.
(3) Performance or acceptance test requirements for all other energy projects will be determined by the Agency on a case-by-case basis.
(y) Projects that process, distribute, aggregate, store, and/or market locally or regionally produced agricultural food products to support community development and farm and ranch income, subject to each of the following:
(1) The term “locally or regionally produced agricultural food product” means any agricultural food product that is raised, produced, and distributed in the locality or region in which the final product is marketed, so that the distance the product is transported is less than 400 miles from the origin of the product, or within the State in which the product is produced. Food products could be raw, cooked, or a processed edible substance, beverage, or ingredient used or intended for use or for sale in whole or in part for human consumption.
(2) Projects may be located in urban areas, as well as rural areas.
(3) A significant amount of the food product sold by the borrower is locally or regionally produced, and a significant amount of the locally or regionally produced food product is sold locally or regionally. The Agency is choosing not to set a threshold for “significant” but reserves the right to do so in periodic notices in the Federal Register.
(4) The borrower must include in an appropriate agreement, with retail and institutional facilities to which the borrower sells locally or regionally produced agricultural food products, a requirement to inform consumers of the retail or institutional facilities that the consumers are purchasing or consuming locally or regionally produced agricultural food products.
(5) The Agency will give funding priority to projects that provide a benefit to underserved communities in accordance with § 4279.166(b)(4)(i)(G). An underserved community is a community (including an urban or rural community and an Indian tribal community) that has limited access to affordable, healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, in grocery retail stores or farmer to consumer direct markets and that has either a high rate of hunger or food insecurity or a high poverty rate as reflected in the most recent decennial census or other Agency-approved census.
(z) A borrower is permitted to use up to 10 percent of the amount provided under this subpart to construct, improve, or acquire broadband infrastructure related to the project financed, subject to the requirements of 7 CFR part 1980, subpart M.