Wondering about where to find money for your small farm startup or expansion? Need equipment but don't know how to pay for it? Well, there are resources for grant money for small-scale farming. You just have to know where to look.
Grants.gov is a great place to start your search. You can search by keyword, browse categories, or browse agencies to find grants that may apply to your situation. The USDA Alternative Farming Systems Information Center lists resources and opportunities for grants and loans for small farmers and other agricultural producers.
Check with your Cooperative Extension Office for the most local and individual assistance for your particular situation. Your Cooperative Extension Office can be a helpful source of information and save you a lot of time spent hunting through grant listings that make no sense for your needs.
The Small Farm Success Project is a unique collaboration of nonprofits, the USDA, and land grant universities in the mid-Atlantic region whose stated goal is helping farmers improve their financial success. They offer a business plan workbook for a small fee, and free fact sheets on finances, budgeting, leadership and management. The materials look thorough and impressive and a great resource for anyone working on designing a business plan and recordkeeping systems for their farm.
Whether you're just beginning to farm, still dreaming about buying your place, or many years into farming, it's always a good idea to revisit your business practices and see if they can be improved, and to take a moment before launching full-on into this season's work to assess what your ultimate goals are. And there's always room for improvement and new ideas that make recordkeeping go more smoothly.