Access to Capital

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Probably the most common question we get here at Small Farms Extension sounds something like this:  "I want to start a small sustainable farm where I raise [x, y, and z].  Is there a grant for me to do that?" It depends. Some of the most common programs are listed below.
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), USDA - This memo highlights four AMS programs that work at regional, state and local levels to help farmers and processors through grants and reimbursements.
Beginning Farmer Loan Program, Iowa Agriculture Development Division, Iowa Finance Authority - The Beginning Farmer Loan Program and Loan Participation Program help Iowa farmers purchase agricultural land, depreciable machinery or equipment, breeding livestock or buildings. The IADD loans may also be used to improve existing buildings or farmland.
Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) - This guide lists funding opportunities offered by federal programs and is free. - This website is a central storehouse for information on over 1,000 federal grant programs and provides access to approximately $500 billion in annual awards.

Rural Development programs, USDA - This site highlights programs within Rural Development with grant opportunities.
Specialty Crop Block Grants, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship - Producer groups are eligible to apply for a grant. The project(s) must solely enhance the competitiveness of Iowa grown specialty crops that benefit the industry as a whole and that do not directly benefit a particular product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual.


How to Use Grants from AgMRC - Grants are an important resource in developing a new business. A grant can provide seed money for exploring a business opportunity, supply working capital for a business plan or provide assistance in other ways.

VAPG Program - The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program is a competitive grants program administered by the Rural Business Cooperative Service at USDA to help producers move into value-added agricultural enterprises. This program aims to provide planning and/or capital investment for value-adding enterprises started by farmers, ranchers, foresters and fishermen.