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 plenty of 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 Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education organization lists grants available to farmers. Some of these involve partnership with the community or an educational institution. But, check it out - one may be just what you're looking for.
The resources below aren't grants per se, but they're great powerhouses of information and education that will help you on your way as you learn the ropes of small farming. They also include extensive and thorough links to additional resources.
- The Northeast Beginning Farmers Project is offered through Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. It is housed at the Cornell Small Farms Program and funded by the USDA's Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program. They offer online courses, a website full of resources, including a guide to farming in NY and farming videos, and host events. Although based in NY, they are reaching out to form collaborations with other organizations in the Northeast.
- The New England Small Farm Institute offers a course called Exploring the Small Farm Dream, geared toward getting new farmers off on the right foot with their business. Even if you're not in New England, you can work through the book in a self-study format for free.