Funding Resources (Loans and Grants) are often crucial to starting a new farm business. This page contains comprehensive information about finding financial help for starting your farm business. It is also important to be aware that farm business planning is usually an essential component for obtaining funding, for either loans or grants for farm enterprise. We encourage you to visit our Farm Business Planning Page to learn more about how to develop a business plan.
How this Page is Organized:
1) We begin with a list of information resources about federal loan programs administered through the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).
2) Next we provide information about other federal funding options.
3) Then we list a number links to other public and private organizations which provide information about loans, grants and financial management both for farming and for research (on-farm and academic). Some are specific to beginning farmers, while others are not. And some are focused on particular geographical regions, while most are not.
4) The next section lists beginning farmer loan and development programs administered by individual States.
5) We then provide information about the Farm Credit Cooperative system and how it may assist beginning farmers.
6) Finally, we have links to several private lenders, several of which offer loans specifically geared toward beginning farmers.
1) USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Loan Programs:
2) More on Federal Financing Options
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s Guide to USDA Funding for Local and Regional Food Systems is a great resource which discusses Grants and Loans from: the Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership Program; Specialty Crop Block Grants; Farmers Market Promotion Program; Federal State Marketing Improvement Program; Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (also see above); Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program; Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Value Added Producer Grants; Rural Business Enterprise Grants; Rural Business Opportunity Grants; Rural Cooperative Development Grants; Community Facilities Grant Program; Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grants; Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Programs; Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers; as well as Regional Resources.
The Conservation Stewardship Program, administered through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides important funding opportunities for landowners with areas that are not in agricultural production. And a list of all NRCS programs which provide funds for a wide variety of conservation projects, initiatives, and activities, can be found at:http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/
The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA) provides a list of federal, state, and local grant programs, regional funding sources, private lenders and more (listed in calender form) at: http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/funding.php
Find a list of USDA Rural Development Grants at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RD_Grants.html
GovernmentLoans.gov is a gateway to Federal agricultural loan information.
Through the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) farmers and ranchers can apply for grants that typically run between $500 and $15,000 for various projects. Different SARE grants are available in different regions. To learn more about available SARE grants, or apply, visit the Apply for a Grant SARE website. For tips on successfully applying for SARE grants visit the National Agriculture Library Applying for a SARE Grant page.
3) Other Financial Resources:
4) Links to State Loan Programs (listed alphabetically):
Wyatt Fraas, from the Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA) has kindly pointed out that most of these programs are run by State Departments of Agriculture. If your state isn’t listed, contact your Dept. of Ag. to see if they have a new program, and to make them aware that there is demand for beginning farmer loan programs in your state.
Please also check out: the National Council of State Agricultural Finance Programs and navigate to the “Types of State Ag Loan Programs” drop-down menu for more information about specific state beginning farmer financing programs, including Beginning Farmer Aggie Bond Programs.
5) Farm Credit Cooperatives:
Farm Credit Cooperatives are often a great option for farm loans and other financial services for new and beginning farmers. For a nice overview article explaining what farm credit cooperatives are, and how they might assist you, check out the guest post written for us by Gary Matteson, VP for Young, Beginning Small Farmer Programs and Outreach at The Farm Credit Council: http://beginningfarmers.org/farm-credit-cooperatives-offer-loan-options-for-young-beginning-and-small-farmers/
Every Farm Credit institution has some kind of enhancement program for young, beginning, and small (YBS) farmers. Since each of those 90 institutions is independently operated, their YBS programs are not the same–they are tailored to local needs. Many Farm Credit institutions have what they offer on their websites, but many do not go into the specifics unless a local office is contacted. To find your nearest Farm Credit office, go to http://www.farmcreditnetwork.com/about/locations.
AgCountry Farm Credit Services “works to support the successful entry of young and beginning farmers into production agriculture through specialized credit underwriting, educational/informational programs and other activities; The Farm Credit Council “serves young, beginning, and small farmers and ranchers”; Greenstone Farm Credit Services has “special programs for young and beginning farmers”
6) Commercial Lenders
Loans.com is a web portal to 750 commercial lenders.
Mortgage 101 provides a list of lenders, a mortgage calculator, information on mortgage rates, and more.
The American Bankers Association has a Agriculture Banking page.
Bank of America: Agriculture Loans: Finance equipment, land, or production expenses related to farming and ranching, with various repayment terms.
US Bank: Agriculture Loans: Line or load financing for equipment expenses, livestock or crop production with adjustable repayment schedules.
Janus Mortgage has loan packages for purchasing agricultural land.
Investors Resource Alliance provides agricultural business plan funding and borrower or investor loans for the purchase of goods and services to produce agricultural products.
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