Accessing capital is a central challenge for new farmers as well as for the organizations providing new farmer assistance. There are, however, a variety of ways organizations can access funds and leverage capital to help finance new farm operations.

Financing Your Organization

Organizations assisting new farmers often rely on membership dues, private donors, and program fees to operate beginning farmer programs. The links below introduce how organizations can tap into additional funding to support new farmers.

Grants

Mini-Grants

The Marketplace

Social Investing

Financing New Farmers

These links provide an overview of various financing tools and how organizations can help improve new farmer access to each.

Grants and Mini-Grants

Individual Development Account (IDA)

Loans

Microloans

Social Investing

Incentive Programs and Set-Asides

Other Resources

The resources described and linked to below are of a general nature, and primarily national in scope or applicability. More detailed resources on specific financing programs and opportunities are discussed in the categories listed above. State specific organizations and publications are available through the “State Resources” index.

Organizations

National Council of State Agricultural Finance Programs

NCOSAFP is an organization that “keeps its members informed on state programs being developed across the nation and on farm finance issues emerging in Washington, D.C.” The organization’s website has information on a variety of agricultural financing programs, including beginning farmer and rancher loans.

Center for Rural Affairs: Farming Opportunties

CFRA has compiled extensive resources for assisting new farmers. Much of this information is available through the organization’s Farming Opportunities webpage, which includes:

  • Information on land access, such as linking programs, transition assistance, and landowners incentives.
  • Financial planning resources
  • Explanation of the different types and resources of agricultural credit.

Publications

The Farmer’s Guide to Agricultural Credit, by John Bonitz and Jason Roehrig (Sept. 2006).

  • Provides introductory information on credit lending
  • Contains a complete section on communicating your ideas to agricultural lenders

Financing Farming in the U.S.: Opportunities to Improve the Financial and Business Environment for Small and Midsized Farms Through Strategic Financing by Susan Cocciarelli, Dorothy Suput, and Ray Boshara (July 2010).

  • This report provides the results of six working group sessions held across the country with farm experts to determine:
    1. “The reasons for the chasm between an emerging sector of smaller-scale agriculture producers and access to capital.”
    2. “Workable strategies to create successful farm-lender relationships.”