United States Department of Agriculture Rural Information Center

Small Farm Funding Resources


Photo: Grazing Cows.

The source for the image on the right is USDA.


This guide contains information about issues to consider before starting a farming operation with links to full-text guides on how to start a farm business, and develop business and marketing plans. It also contains information about funding sources for beginning farmers, training, technical assistance contacts, organizations with resources and programs for beginning and experienced farmers, and more.

You may also want to consult the Start2Farm.Gov Online Clearinghouse, a service of the National Agricultural Library. http://www.start2farm.gov
Start2Farm.Gov is a Project of the The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) which is administered by the USDA, National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA). "The purpose and priorities for the BFRDP are to provide U.S. beginning farmer and rancher producers and their families, as appropriate, with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to make informed decisions for their operations, with the goal of enhancing success of beginning farmers and ranchers."

The Small Farm Funding Resource online guide was developed by Patricia LaCaille John, September 2005; Last modified: March, 2014

The use of trade, firm, or corporation names in this publication (or page) is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Agricultural Research Service of any product or service to the exclusion of others that maybe suitable.

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Developing a Farm Business Plan

Financial and Planning Resources

Funding and Program Assistance

State Programs

    You may want to start your financial assistance search with your state Department of Agriculture to see if your state has a Beginning Farmer Loan Program or other type of grants or loans for farming and ranching.

      Locate Departments of Agriculture, by State, http://www.rma.usda.gov/other/stateag.html List by USDA Risk Management Agency.
      • Types of state agricultural finance programs may be identified through your Council of State Agricultural Finance Programs. Check with your state agriculture department for programs, like Aggie Bonds.

Agricultural Lenders

    Information on Farm Financial Management & Performance can be located on the USDA's Economic Research Service web site.

    Farm Banks: The nation's farm banks (defined by the Federal Reserve Board as banks that have above average proportions of farm real estate and production loans in their loan portfolios) offer a variety of loans to small and large farms and agribusiness firms; they also handle many of the loans made under USDA's guaranteed farm loan programs.

    • American Bankers Association: Agriculure Banking. ABA has a "special section dedicated to providing advocacy, information, training, education, and public relations for banks that make and service agricultural loans or provide credit and other financial services to those living and working in rural America for nearly 100 years." http://www.aba.com/Tools/BankType/Ag/Pages/default.aspx

    Farm Credit System (FCS): The FCS is a network of federally chartered borrower-owned lending institutions and related service organizations that specialize in providing credit and related services to farmers (also young and beginning), ranchers, and producers or harvesters of aquatic products. Additional information about the FCS is available from the Farm Credit Administration at http://www.fca.gov/FCS-Institutions.htm

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Veteran Resources

Agriculture Disaster Assistance

Organizations and Web Sites

USDA, Rural Information Center
National Agricultural Library
10301 Baltimore Ave.,Room 123
Beltsville, MD 20705-2351