Funding Resources for Farmers (Loans/Grants)

Funding Resources For Farmers (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 to learn more about how to develop a business plan.

farming loans

How the Funding Resources for Farmers 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 Loan Programs:

  • The  published by the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project.
  • The National Young Farmers Coalition also publishes a to help you navigate the federal loan process.

2) More on Federal Financing Options

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.

, administered through the  (NRCS) provides important funding resources for farmers 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

provides a list of federal, state, and local grant programs, regional funding sources, private lenders, with more opportunities listed at 

The USDA National Agricultural Library has , information about , as well as a .

Find a list of USDA Rural Development Programs at 

is a gateway to Federal agricultural loan information.

Through the USDA’s 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 SARE website. For tips on successfully applying for SARE grants visit the National Agriculture Library page.

If you are a farmer or rural entrepreneur in the Midwest, you are invited to use a free Grants Advising service of the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute. Their Grants Advisers help you decide whether a grant would be the best way to achieve your goals. If so, he or she will help you identify a grant program that best fits your goals and help you outline a plan of work for you to follow to meet the application deadline and all application requirements. If not, the Adviser will suggest other funding resources for farmers. Examples might be federal, state or local loan programs, loan guarantees, as well as resource information and resource persons. Check out  for more information.
 
cash money

3) Other Funding Resources for Farmers:

  • The is a great resource which offers for applying to beginning farmer funding programs  Also be sure to check out their for lots of useful tips on planning your financing strategy.
  • Chamber of Commerce has a page on , and it is always important to remember that a farm is a small business.
  • Learn about Aggie Bonds for Beginning Farmers by clicking on the “types of state ag loan programs” drop down menu at the website.
  • The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) offers research grants through its
  •  
  • A number food system organizations across the country have been supported with small grants, many over several years. Note that there are strict eligibility requirements (for example, individuals are not eligible) and non-fundable program activities. Applications are reviewed three times yearly. The next due date is Monday, October 1st, 11:59 PM EST. The website has an extensive list, by state, of previously funded organizations. Learn more
  • RAFI USA has a publication called . This guide was written to help farmers understand agricultural finance, and to help them be better prepared for the credit application process.  It introduces some effective planning tools farmers can use to increase their opportunities in accessing capital.  Also offered are appendices containing resources for further learning.
  • has a number of great tools, and lots of information to help farmers make sound financial decisions.
  • “is a guidebook written for anyone seeking help from federal programs to foster innovative enterprises in agriculture and forestry in the United States. Specifically, the guide addresses program resources in community development; sustainable land management; and value-added and diversified agriculture and forestry.”
  • Karen Klonsky, an Extension Specialist at University of California, Davis has written a simple, but excellent document called and Kent D. Olson, a UC Davis Cooperative Extension Economist has written one called . Both publications are valuable resources, and are part of the University’s excellent  of publications.
  • is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating financing solutions for small- and midsized farms, limited-resource farms, and those using ecologically sound practices. Our singular program model is designed to incubate and establish alternative financing programs in combination with business technical assistance.” Although their loan programs are focused specifically on farmers in New England, (and now expanding to New York) they do have a great deal of information that may be applicable and useful to beginning farmers everywhere. 
  • The is capitalized by socially motivated investors and donors. It uses its capital to make low-interest loans for community development, educational or agricultural projects: That promote the long-term interests of local communities as well as their individual members; That demonstrate the efficacy of land ownership models that balance the interests of individuals and communities; That promote social and economic justice; That promote environmentally conscious, economically sustainable land use; and that would be unlikely to receive financing from conventional sources.
  • Check out the for information on MicroEnterprise Loans
  • Kiva microloans are available to farmers all over to the world to expand enterprises and fund specific projects. These interest free loans are available as direct loans through PayPal for U.S. farmers, or through partners for farmers in other parts of the world. Get started at .

4) Links to State Loan Programs (listed alphabetically):

Wyatt Fraas, from the 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  and navigate to the “Types of State Ag Loan Programs” drop-down menu for more information about specific state beginning farmer financing programs and other funding resources for farmers including Beginning Farmer Aggie Bond Programs.

  • Colorado offers Beginning Farmer Loans through the Colorado Agricultural Development Authority. For more information visit: 
  • Illinois has a Beginning Farmer Bond Program administered through the Illinois Finance Authority, which provides reduced interest rates for purchasing farmland. For more information visit: .
  • Iowa has a Beginning Farmer Loan Program administered through the Iowa Agricultural Development Authority. For more information on this program visit: 
  • Kansas has a Beginning Farmer Loan Program administered through the Kansas Development Finance Authority. For more information visit: 
  • Kentucky has a Beginning Farmer Loan Program administered by the Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corporation. For More Information visit: 
  • Minnesota offers a number of different loan programs through the Rural Finance Authority. For more information visit:
  • Missouri has a Beginning Farmer Loan Program administered through the Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority. For more information visit: 
  • Montana has a Beginning Farm/Ranch Loan Program offered through the Montana Agriculture Loan Authority. For more information visit: As of July 2021 I can no longer find information for this program on the web, but you can contact the MALO or check out other farmer loan programs at 
  • Nebraska has a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Loan Program administered through the Nebraska Finance Investment Authority. For information on this program visit:
  • Oklahoma’s Beginning Farmer Loan Program (OBFLP) has traditionally provided additional credit options for those entering farming, but as of July 2021 I can no longer find information on beginning farmer loans or the “Aggie Bond” program on the web. I suggest contacting the , The Oklahoma Development Finance Authority (405-842-1145), or your local Extension Agent.
  • Pennsylvania has a Next Generation Farmer Loan Program offered through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. For more information visit: 
  • Washington State has a Beginning Farmer/Rancher Loan Program offered through the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and Northwest Farm Credit Services. For more information visit:

Farm Business Planning

5) Farm Credit Cooperatives:

Farm Credit Cooperatives are often a great option for funding resources for farmers including 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:

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 .

“works to support the successful entry of young and beginning farmers into production agriculture through specialized credit underwriting, educational/informational programs and other activities; “serves young, beginning, and small farmers and ranchers”; has special programs for young and beginning farmers”

6) Commercial Lenders

is a web portal to 750 commercial lenders.

provides a list of lenders, a mortgage calculator, information on mortgage rates, and more.

The American Bankers Association has a page.

: Finance equipment, land, or production expenses related to farming and ranching, with various repayment terms.

has loan packages for purchasing agricultural land.

provides agricultural business plan funding and borrower or investor loans for the purchase of goods and services to produce agricultural products.

 

Find additional farming resources from medxcycle.com at http://medxcycle.com/additional-farming-resources/