Do you manage a family-owned farm or ranch? Are you just getting started or trying out alternative farming methods, specialty crops or locations? Maybe you’re a 4H-er working on a hog or steer project.
USDA and its partners have you covered with loan and grant programs plus business tools for needs large and small.
Whether you’re a new and beginning farmer or just experimenting something new, your business plan provides the step-by-step roadmap for your investment.
Create a new business plan or update your existing plan with online tools from business and agriculture communities. A few good places to start include:
- US Small Business Administration’s website for market analysis, business plan, and start-up cost guidance and tools
- AgPlan – managed by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Farm Financial Management – for a web-based, interactive business planning tool
- Agricultural Marketing Resource Center – managed by Iowa State University in partnership with USDA - for valuable research about commodities and products, markets and industries, business development, and much more
- USDA website for popular farming topics including aquaculture, crop production, and organic farming
- USDA new and beginning farmers website
Once you complete your initial research, head on over to our Connect page for information about local partners and mentor programs. Learn about the industry and make your plans based on advice from farmers and ranchers just like you.
Check out the USDA Farm Service Agency and Rural Development Resales website for information about single- and multi-family homes, farms, and ranches for sale to the public by the government. The properties are located throughout the United States including our Commonwealths and Territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean.
Are you a new and beginning farmer looking for land to purchase?
The Transition Incentive Program connects retired or retiring land owners or operators with beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.
USDA Farm Service Agency provides producers nationwide with access to credit through its Farm Loan Programs to start and strengthen operations. On the USDA Farm Service Agency’s website, explore loan options including:
- Direct Farm Operating Loans for general farm operating expenses
- Microloans for the operating expenses of new and beginning farmers and specialty producers
- Direct Farm Ownership Loans to purchase or expand a farm or ranch
- Guaranteed Loans that enable lenders to extend credit to family farm operators and owners who do not qualify for standard commercial loans
- Emergency Loans for natural disaster or emergency response
- Targeted Loans for youth; beginning farmers and ranchers; and minority and women farmers and ranchers
- Native American Tribal Loans
USDA Farm Service Agency’s loan guidebook, Your Guide to FSA Farm Loans, provides simplified information about the loan process, from selecting the right loan for your needs to managing your loan payments.
Your FSA Farm Loan Compass provides more in-depth information about borrower rights and responsibilities along with loan servicing options.
For some agricultural businesses, financing needs can expand beyond your own land or equipment, such as building a new processing plant or creating a new product. Explore business programs managed by USDA Rural Development:
- Business and Industry Loan Guarantees
- Value-added Producer Grants for activities related to the marketing and/or processing of new products
Find loans and grants offered by other USDA agencies and by states in partnership with USDA.
Visit the US Small Business Administration’s website to find funding programs and requirements for small businesses. Use their free online Lender Match referral tool that connects small businesses with participating SBA-approved lenders.
USDA funds are also available to help manage risk, solve natural resource problems, deliver environmental benefits, and increase sustainability through conservation. Learn about USDA programs for working farms and ranches, land retirement, and conservation rental on our Conserve page.
Visit your local USDA service center to determine which funding programs may best meet your needs (see locator below).
Know Before You Go: Most USDA Farm Service Agency loans require the same common application forms. You can review those forms and gather relevant documentation before you meet with a farm loan officer or manager. You may be asked to complete additional documentation based on loan type.