How to Start a Farm: Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

New to farming? Want to learn how to start a farm? USDA offers dedicated help to beginning farmers and ranchers. USDA considers anyone who has operated a farm or ranch for less than ten years to be a beginning farmer or rancher.

USDA can help you get started or grow your operation through a variety of programs and services, from farm loans to crop insurance, and conservation programs to disaster assistance.

How to Start a Farm Operation

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Plan Your Farm Operation

1. Start here! Think about your operation from the ground up and start planning for your business.

Plan your farm

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Visit Your Service Center

2. Get in touch with your local Service Center to find programs to support your operation.

Visit A Service Center

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Fund Your Farm Operation

3. USDA has spent decades helping new producers find land and money for their businesses.

Fund your farm

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Build Your Business

4. Lean on USDA to help you build your operation with sound business and financial knowledge.

Build your Business

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Sell Your Farm Products

5. Explore everything about producing, marketing and actually selling your final product.

Sell your products

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Maintain Your Farm

6. Take care of your farm operation, and it will take care of you. USDA can help.

Maintain your farm

USDA Support for Beginning Farmers

From farm loans to crop insurance, and conservation programs to disaster assistance, USDA is here to support you and your operation.

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Farmer Coordinators

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Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coordinators are USDA team members in each state that can help you understand the USDA process and find the right assistance as you are starting out. Reach out to your state's coordinator for one-on-one technical assistance and guidance. They can also connect you with organizations that specifically serve beginning farmers and ranchers.

View Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coordinators

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Service Centers

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Your local USDA Service Center has staff who can meet with you one-on-one to help you identify USDA programs that meet the needs of your operation, including farm loans and conservation assistance. Service center staff can guide you through the process of preparing and submitting required paperwork, with no need to hire a paid preparer. 

If you need information in a language other than English, we offer free translation services.

Find Your Local USDA Service Center

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Self-Service Options

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After you've registered your farm and set up an individual customer record with your local USDA Service Center, you can sign up for a secure account to access a number of self-service features. For example, you can:

  • View loan information, history, and payments.
  • Get help requesting financial assistance.
  • View, upload, download and e-sign conservation documents.
  • Request conservation assistance.
  • View, print and export detailed farm records and farm/tract maps.

Learn More About Accounts

Tools for Farmers

Learn about conservation issues and build a list of concerns to discuss with a local USDA conservation specialist.

Learn about USDA disaster assistance programs that might be right for you by completing five simple steps.

Learn about the farm loans that might be right for you, check your eligibility, and get instructional help with the application forms.

Get Involved

In addition to our farm programs, there are many leadership opportunities for beginning farmers to contribute their voices and experience. Through USDA, you can take advantage of several key opportunities like committee elections, research and promotion programs, and federal advisory committees. 

Connect With Your Agricultural Community

Additional Resources

Find Your Local Service Center

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USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit

Learn more about our Urban Service Centers.

Visit the Risk Management Agency website to find a regional or compliance office or to find an insurance agent near you.