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, a New England state or New York, 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
(VT) Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets offers grants for energy projects, lists other grants for VT farmers, and announces other grant opportunities, like a GAP certification matching grant
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 Serving 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.
(ME) Maine Farm Credit specializes in lending to Maine's agricultural, fishing and forest products industries.
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 Costal 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 who are not having their financing needs 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 and is The Carrot Project’s partner for The Carrot Project Agriculture Loan Fund in Vermont.
(VT) Ag Ventures Financial Services has an office 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.
(RI) Center for Agricultural Promotion and Education, at the RI Economic Development Corporation offers loans from $10,000 to $25,000 for agro-tourism.
(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.
(MA) Western Mass Enterprise Fund is a private, non-profit community development finance institution. They offer small business loans between $500 and $300,000 to businesses in Hampshire, Hamden, Franklin, Berkshire and Northern Worcester counties in Western Massachusetts.
(M/S) Equity Trust helps farmers set up innovative ownership models for farm protection throughout the country, for which they also have a revolving loan fund.
(M/S) Cooperative Fund of New England provides loans to all types of cooperative businesses
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, 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