There are many grants available to livestock producers, but finding them will take a bit of legwork. The primary source of livestock grant monies is the U.S. government. Federal programs offer a wide range of grants which relate directly or indirectly to livestock production. Locating information about these grants can be tricky, since many are categorized by the type of livestock.
USDA disaster assistance
The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is by far the largest source of grants pertaining to livestock production. Among the most significant USDA program is Farm Service Agency's (FSA) Livestock Assistance Grant Program (LAGP) which provides millions of dollars annually in state block grants to help livestock producers in states affected by natural disasters. This program provides direct payments to eligible livestock producers who sustain grazing losses due to fires, drought, hot weather, hurricanes and floods. Applicants must reside in a county designated as a disaster area by federal authorities and be individually approved for participation in the plan.
USDA support in the marketplace
USDA also provides grants designed to help livestock producers meet the demand of the marketplace. Grants that focus on increasing and streamlining the production of livestock are available. These programs include grants that help producers deal with unfair business practices in the marketing of livestock, implement new methods of operation, increase or improve production, and market livestock more effectively. The USDA Small Business Innovation Research Program for Animal Production and Protection sponsors a number of projects targeting producers of agricultural animals to increase production and assure a safe and reliable supply of animal products for consumers. Small businesses and individuals are eligible. Applicants must submit a detailed proposal that meets program criteria.
State government should not be overlooked as a possible source of grant monies for livestock producers. States are increasingly turning to grant programs that target producers in an attempt to foster growth within the industry. One example is a program recently begun by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The program seeks to increase the number of young farmers and ranchers entering the industry, according to Curt Zimmerman, Livestock Development Supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. It also encourages environmental practices and job growth associated with the livestock industry. Zimmerman confirmed the 2010 delivery of checks for fifty such grants made under the program. Individual grants ranged from $1,000 to $30,000. Zimmerman noted that, out of 575 applicants, one in 12 received a grant.
To find available grants, contact your local USDA Farm Services Agency (FSA). Local agencies are listed on the USDA web site shown below. In addition, spend some time browsing the USDA website for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. And don't forget to check with your state department of agriculture.