Community banks are catching on to a once-obscure government bond program that makes it easier to lend to young farmers.

Under the 18-year-old program, banks may buy tax-free "aggie" bonds from their home states, using loans to farmers with assets of less than $150,000 to supply the income stream for bond payments. The program has grown by 66%, to $73 million, since 1995 when Congress amended the law to relax eligibility requirements.

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