This list provides different resources for financing options available to farms. It includes state and federal government agencies, farmer-owned lending cooperatives, banks and other institutions.
Each listing is preceded by its state abbreviation or (M/S) for multi-state.
State Department of Agriculture Grants
State departments of agriculture have grant programs for farmers to help maintain viable businesses and protect farmland. The grant programs are sometimes cost-sharing (requiring a farmer match), and linked to participation in technical assistance where farmers can receive planning assistance and matching funds at the same time.
(CT) Connecticut Department of Agriculture has grant programs through its Agricultural Business Development & Assistance Programs.
(MA) Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources offers grant programs coupled with technical assistance, including a Farm Viability Program, and grants for energy projects and beginning farmers (MEGA). View a complete list of programs.
(ME) Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Resources offers various types of business technical assistance programs, loans, and grants under Agricultural Business Development.
(NH) New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food offers grant opportunities here.
USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offers cost-sharing for farm improvements funded through the Farm Bill. The types of eligible projects may change over time and vary by region. Some types of eligible projects include payments for conservation practices, as well as projects like deer fencing, wells and compost pads.
(M/S) To apply for NRCS programs, contact your local NRCS office using the NRCS locator.
(M/S) The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) publishes a Grassroots Guide to the Farm Bill and outlines deadlines and requirements for all NRCS and FSA programs on their Farm Bill Programs and Grants page.
(M/S) The Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA) is an excellent source of current information on federal agricultural programs. They have a Farm Bill Help Line, a Guide to Funding for Beginning Farmers, an Ag Library of their guides, and a Newsletter which includes updates about USDA programs.
(M/S) The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) works with NSAC and CFRA to make Farm Bill programs more available to small, young and beginning farmers. Their blog is a good source of information about USDA and Farm Bill programs. You can join and receive their email updates.
Federal Government Lenders
The USDA lends money for farmers unable to access loans through commercial banks and lenders through the Farm Service Agency (FSA). They offer loans to service a variety of financing needs, including: operating loans, farm purchase loans and guarantees with down payment matches, and emergency loans. They lend up to $300,000 at competitive rates.
(M/S) To apply for FSA programs, contact your local FSA office using the FSA locator.
Agricultural Lending Cooperatives
Farm Credit is a cooperative bank owned by its member farmers with local branch institutions in each state. Farm Credit provides more than $160 billion in loans, leases, and related services to farmers, ranchers, rural homeowners, aquatic producers, timber harvesters, agribusinesses, and agricultural and rural utility cooperatives.
(M/S) Farm Credit East serves New England and New York. They have offices throughout throughout the region. FarmStart, a program of Farm Credit East,assists beginning farmers and new cooperatives with an operating line of credit up to $50,000. Farmers in their first three years of business who have a crop history and a working business plan are best suited to the FarmStart program.
(VT) Yankee Farm Credit has offices in Vermont (Middlebury, Newport, St. Albans, White River Junction) and New York (Chazy). The FarmStart program is also now available through Yankee Farm Credit but you must contact your local office directly.
Other Agricultural Lenders
(ME) Coastal Enterprises Inc. has an Organic Farms Loan Fund, and The Carrot Project’s Maine Farm Business Loan Fund is administered by Coastal Enterprises. Contact Art Stevens, 207-324-0888, firstname.lastname@example.org or the Wiscasset office, 207-882-7552.
(ME) The Maine Organic Farming and Gardening Association has an Organic Farmer Loan Fund.
(VT) Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation, a program of the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA), provides credit to farmers and agricultural facilities whose financing needs aare not fully met by conventional agricultural credit sources.
(VT) Vermont Community Loan Fund offers the Agritourism Program, which is a revolving loan fund with financing of up to $50,000.
(VT) Ag Ventures Financial Services has an office in St. Albans, VT.
(VT) Vermont Women’s Farm Fund makes awards for Farm Business Development and Leadership Development.
(VT) Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund offers a Flexible Capital Fund targeted to businesses with a minimum of $1,000,000 of yearly sales and strong profit margins.
(VT) Community Capital of Vermont offers loans ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 that can be used for business start-up or growth and expansion. CCVT specializes in providing loans to business owners who lack the collateral or credit history to qualify for traditional bank loans.
(VT) The Vermont Farm Fund is a revolving loan fund supporting Vermont farmers and food producers who are growing their business or recovering from catastrophe.
(MA) PVGrows offers loans through the PVGrows Loan Fund. The loans are below-market rate loans to businesses that fill key gaps in the infrastructure of the Pioneer Valley local food system in Western Massachusetts.
(NY) Hudson River Ventures supports small businesses, including food and farm enterprises, throughout the Hudson Valley. Past investments range between $50,000 to $500,000.
(NY) Slow Money NYC's Foodshed Investors NY is a network of angel investors connecting with local food business owners who need capital.
(M/S) Equity Trust helps farmers set up innovative ownership models for farm protection throughout the country, for which they also operate a revolving loan fund.
(M/S) Cooperative Fund of New England provides loans to all types of cooperative businesses.
(M/S) Dirt Capital Partners invests in farmland in partnership with sustainable farmers throughout the Northeast. They specialize in aiding established farmers in puchasing, expanding, conserving, and transitioning leased land.
(M/S) Northeast Farm Access facilitates partnerships between farmers and investors. With investor support, they buy land, transition it to organic, and lease it longterm and affordably to intermediate-level farmers.
(M/S) Iroquois Valley Farms leases farmland through long term tenancies. Its Young Farmer Land Access Program focuses on expanding access to future farmland acquisitions to qualified young and beginning farmers.
(M/S) The Fair Food Fund provides financing and business assistance to good food enterprises that connect small and mid-size farms with consumers.
(M/S) The Local Farms Fund was established to provide secure land access to sustainable early stage farmers in the New York City Foodshed through lease-to-own arrangements with the goal of accelerating land ownership for sustainable early stage small farmers.
These banks have special loan programs for farms and other agricultural enterprises:
(MA) Washington Bank in Lowell
(VT) First National Bank of Orwell (802) 948-2811 and Shoreham (802) 897-2265 in VT
(VT) People’s Trust has offices in Enosburg, Essex Town Center, Franklin, Georgia, St. Albans, and Swanton, VT
(NY) First National Bank of Groton, Groton, NY
(NY) First Bank of Jeffersonville, Jeffersonville, NY
(NY) Lyons National Bank, Lyons, NY
(NY) National Union Bank of Kinderhook, Kinderhook, NY
(NY) Bank of Castile, Castile, NY
(NY) Community Bank, Northern Branch, Washington Street, Watertown and Southern Branch, Geneva, NY
(NY) Steuben Trust Company, Genesee & Hornell, NY
(NY) Suffolk County National Bank, West Second Street, Riverhead, NY
(NY) USNY Bank, Geneva, NY
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