The Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2009 reported that nearly 40 percent of people who considered themselves farmers were over 55 years old and that out of the 300 million people living in the United States, only 1 percent farm by occupation. In an effort to introduce younger people to the farming industry and stimulate and innovate the farming community, several grants are available for young farmers to get into business.
Young Farmer Grant
The Texas Department of Agriculture offers the Young Farmer Grant to Texas residents between 18 and 46 years of age who wish to start up a farm or enhance an already existing farm. Grant money can be used for operating and agricultural expenses such as livestock, fertilizer, and feed. Applicants can receive up to $10,000 in funds but must provide matching funds for each proposed project.
Texas Department of Agriculture P.O. Box 12847 Austin, Texas 78711 512-936-0273 agr.state.tx.us
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
Since half of the farmers working in the United States are projected to retire in the next decade, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, introduced by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, was created to provide funds to beginning farmers who had less than 10 years of experience in farming or ranching. Applicants are required to be local, state or tribal entities, which may include nongovernment organizations, universities and state cooperatives. Priority is given to community-based organizations with experience in agriculture.
National Institute of Food and Agriculture 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Stop 2201 Washington, DC 20250-2201 202-720-7536 csrees.usda.gov
Livestock Investment Grant
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture offers the Livestock Investment Grant to beginning and traditional farmers and livestock producers in an effort to improve the quality of Minnesota's state livestock sector. Examples of approved projects for the grant include facilities for milking, barn upgrades, and modernizing the technology used. The Livestock Investment Grant funds up to ten percent of the costs associated with livestock buildings and equipment.
Minnesota Department of Agriculture 625 Robert St. North St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-2538 651-201-6486 mda.state.mn.us
April Lee started writing professionally in 2009. She is the marketing writer for an independently owned cheese business. She attended the University of North Texas and majored in English.