Grants for first-time farmers are available to both individuals and farming cooperative societies who would like to expand their existing business or buy a new farm. For most of them, however, the experience of the farmer or the time the farm has been in operation is limited to less than 10 years. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) also provides loans and grants for things like capacity building, farm labor housing and the implementation of different renewable energy sources in your farm.
This organization provides loans and insurance for farmers who have less than 10 years of experience in the farming industry and are younger than 35 years. As a farmer, you can get an operating loan or a real estate loan and insurance that allows you to purchase a new farm. You can purchase various types of farms with the real estate loan including acreages, ranch land, farmsteads or simple farmland. You can also construct your home in a small town or a rural area using the real estate loan. The operating loan allows you to choose between two lines of credit – revolving or non-revolving. Additionally, you don’t have to have a minimum balance.
The USDA offers loans for beginning ranchers and farmers who have found it impossible to secure a regular commercial loan. There are two types of loans that are provided: operating loans or direct loans which are guaranteed. Any farmer who has been in operation for less than 10 years qualifies for the financing. The direct loan will provide financing up to $300,000. In the event that the farmer would like to purchase a farm, they have to commit at least 5 percent to the down payment for the farm. The USDA also offers additional assistance to farmers who have been socially disadvantaged. It has a down payment program which these farmers can apply for.
RSF Social Finance Seed Fund is a private organization and one of the many private organizations out there offering loans for beginning and struggling farmers. The RSF fund is unique in that it offers small grants to start-up businesses in the agriculture and food industries, which should be good news for farmers who may find it difficult to pay back a loan. To qualify for a grant from the organization, however, you’ll have to team up and form a farming cooperative, in which case you’ll be eligible for a grant of up to $3,500. The cooperative should not be older than two years. You must also have a ready copy of your IRS Determination Letter (501(c) (3)). You should provide a short explanation of just how you plan to use the grant money.