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Where Can I Find Agricultural Funding Resources?

Compiled by:

The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC)
National Agricultural Library
U.S. Department of Agriculture
10301 Baltimore Ave. Room 123
Beltsville, MD 20705 (AFSIC)
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Reviewed March 2017

  1. Grants and Loans for Farmers
    USDA. National Agricultural Library. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.
    This Web page identifies financial support for small farms and farm-related businesses available from a variety of Federal, state and local agencies and from non-governmental organizations. 
  2. Small Farm Funding Resources
    USDA. National Agricultural Library. Rural Information Center.
    View a video to this guide.
    This online guide and video "contain 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." The guide identifies funding programs for beginning and experienced farmers, technical assistance contacts, disaster assistance, and organizations with resources. 
  3. A Guide to Funding Resources
    USDA. National Agricultural Library. Rural Information Center.
    The "Funding Resources" section of A Guide to Funding Resources includes links to searchable databases offering funding opportunities from government and/or private sources that are available to local governments, community organizations, and individuals. It provides web links to more than forty full-text online guides and tips to assist grantwriters prepare successful proposals.   
  4. Sustainable Agriculture Research Funding Resources
    USDA. National Agricultural Library. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.
    "This fact sheet lists U.S. government and non-government entities that provide funding for research activities related to sustainable agriculture including organic farming and food, integrated pest management, water quality issues related to agriculture, rural community and small farm topics, alternative and value-added marketing practices, and more. Emphasis is on research funds."
  5. ATTRA - the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
    • Funding Opportunities
      This list features sustainable agriculture-related funding information updated weekly and searchable by date and keyword.
    • Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities: A Guide to Federal Programs for Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry, Entrepreneurship, Conservation, Food Systems, and Community Development.
      Krome, Margaret (MFAI), George Reistad (MFAI), and NSAC's policy staff. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2009, updated October 2014. 86 p.
      This guide addresses federal "program resources in community development; sustainable land management; and value-added and diversified agriculture and forestry."
  6. United States Department of Agriculture
    • Growing Opportunity. A Guide to USDA Sustainable Farming Programs.
      U.S. Department of Agriculture. January 2017.
      This guide details USDA programs, arranged by Agency, "that have been created to help farmers succeed." Each program description "provides helpful information on who's eligible, what a program helps farmers do, and where to go to get more information."
      Note: Includes “Special Set-asides for Organic, Beginning, Socially Disadvantaged, and/or Military Veteran Farmers and Ranchers” program matrix (p. 27).  
    • USDA Organic Resource Guide 2015. Your Guide to Organic and Organic Related USDA Programs.
      U.S. Department of Agriculture. April 2015.
      This guide describes and links to organic and organic-related United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services. Some USDA programs specifically target organic farmers, ranchers, and handlers. USDA also provides research data and technical information; delivers organic education and knowledge to other USDA programs and the public, and offers marketing and infrastructure programs that assist with business development and marketing of organic operations.  
    • Financial Resources for Farmers and Ranchers.
      United States Department of Agriculture.
      "USDA offers numerous programs to help farmers, ranchers, and businesses access the organic market. This page describes and links to USDA loan programs, conservation assistance, crop insurance, and marketing programs that support organic agriculture."  
    • Financial Resources for Individual Farmers and Ranchers.
      U.S. Department of Agriculture.
      At a Glance: Highlighted Financial Programs Throughout USDA. Provides information on "USDA programs that may be of particular interest to small and beginning farmers and ranchers as well as socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers."  
    • USDA New Farmers Website
      Access to Land and Capital
      "Two of the biggest challenges facing new farmers and ranchers are access to land and access to capital. Capital needs range from buying the farm itself to financing your business. USDA and our partners have many tools that you can use when taking these first key steps."  
    • Agricultural Marketing Service
      Grants and Opportunities
      Funding "opportunities support a variety of agricultural activities, including the specialty crop industry and local and regional food system expansion."  
    • Farm Service Agency
      Farm Loan Programs         
      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:  
    • Rural Development
      Rural Development operates over fifty financial assistance programs for a variety of rural applications.  Programs for agriculture include: 

      Find local Rural Development contacts:

    • Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
      • Funding Opportunities
        The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program offers five different types of grants for funding of relevant agricultural research projects.
      • Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses
        Business planning guide focuses on how real farm families set goals,research processing alternatives, determine potential markets and evaluate financing options.
    • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
      Grant Search
      Search for funding opportunities by Emphasis (or topic) or by Eligibility to find programs of interest. 
  7. Types of State Agricultural Finance Programs
    National Council of State Agricultural Finance Programs.
    Provides an overview of the funding programs offered by many state agricultural departments. The Directory of State by State Agricultural Loan Programs provides more detail and contacts:
    A partnership of 26 Federal Agencies which directs grant seekers to over 1,000 funding programs offered across Federal grant-making Agencies.
  9. Agricultural Marketing Resource Center
    Addresses marketing and business planning for U.S. agricultural producers.