There are plenty of good websites where you can get information “straight from the horses’ mouths” – the agencies that actually provide grants and loans for farms, ranchers, and agricultural businesses. Although limited, financial support for small farms and farm-related businesses is available from a variety of Federal, state and local agencies and from non-governmental organizations. If you are wondering where to find reliable organizations and websites for agricultural funding resources, start your research with some of these:
1. USDA. National Agriculture Library, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center compiled a list of programs and resource guides that serve as starting points for identifying funding opportunities.
2. USDA. National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) provides grants for education and research that typically run between $500 and $15,000 for on-farm renewable energy, pest and weed management, pastured livestock and rotational grazing, no till and conservation tillage, nutrient management, agro forestry, marketing, sustainable communities, systems research, crop and livestock diversity, and more.
3. National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is a program by the National Center for Appropriate Technology that provides a list that features sustainable agriculture-related funding information which is updated weekly and searchable by date and keyword. A few examples of featured programs include Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, Center for Sustainability of Farms and Families Grant Program, Water Resources Research National Competitive Grants Program.
4. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) makes loans to farmers and ranchers which can be used to purchase land, livestock, equipment, construct buildings and make farm improvements. Contact a FSA Service Center to learn more about programs and information.
5. USDA. Rural Development Grant program assistance is provided in many ways, including direct or guaranteed loans, grants, technical assistance, research and educational materials. A few examples of rural development grant programs include Value Added Producer Grants, Farm Labor Housing and Repair Grants, Rural Community Development Initiative, and there are many more.