Grants for Beginning Female Farmers

by Dr. Melissa Nelson; Updated September 26, 2017
Various programs help beginning female farmers.

There are many state and federal programs available to help beginning female farmers. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the largest provider of grants to beginning farmers.

Development Program

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is a USDA program designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or less.


The Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program is available for groups of farmers. This typically funds a project that adds monetary value to farm products.


The USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE) funds farm projects. A beginning farmer with an innovative idea to improve her farm’s products is an ideal candidate for these grants.

Socially Disadvantaged Loans

Loans for Socially Disadvantaged Persons (Minorities and Women) provide direct farm ownership loans (FO) and farm operating loans (OL) to eligible farmers from the Farm Service Agency (FSA).

State Programs

Many states have beginning farmer finance programs. These can be loans or grants to help finance the purchase or lease of a farm.

The Carrot Project

The Carrot Project is available to farmers in New England. This program combines loans and grants along with technical assistance to help small and midsize farms that use ecologically sound on-farm practices.

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