New to farming? Want to learn how to start a farm? USDA can help and offers additional assistance 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.
Why Work with USDA
Advice and Guidance
A new farm or ranch business relies on good planning.
We can guide you to resources for your business plan.
We can also provide free technical assistance and help you develop a conservation plan for your land.
You might want to learn about the Score Mentorship Program to learn from a fellow farmer.
Access to Capital
Access to capital enables you to buy or lease land, buy equipment, and help with other operating costs. Learn more about resources for access to land and capital.
Conservation, Insurance and Disaster Assistance
Conservation programs can help you take care of natural resources while improving the efficiencies on your operation.
Agriculture is an inherently risky business. It’s important to plan for everyday business risks and those brought on by natural disasters. Federal crop insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program are good options for managing risk.
We also offer disaster assistance to help your farm recover.
How to Work with USDA
Your first step should be to contact your USDA Service Center and make an appointment. Be sure to ask what documents you’ll need. Also consider -- what is your vision for your land and farm? What are your challenges?
If you need information in a language other than English, we can offer free translation services.
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coordinators are USDA team members that can help you understand the USDA process and find the right assistance for your operation. We have coordinators across the country.
Specialty Farmer Groups
Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers
We offer help for the unique concerns of producers who meet the USDA definition of “historically underserved” -- beginning, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and military veterans. In addition, women in agriculture are helping to pave the way for a better future. Use this self-determination tool to determine if you’re a limited resource producer.
If you inherited land without a clear title or documented legal ownership, learn more about how USDA can help Heirs’ Property Landowners establish a farm number to gain access to a variety of programs and services.
If you are a producer with disabilities, organizations like Agrability offer services that can help adapt and modify farm equipment to be more accessible.
USDA has been helping more and more farms and gardens in urban centers. Learn about our Urban Farming funding and resources.
If you are an organic farmer, you can apply for the same loans and programs as conventional farmers. You may also apply for USDA to pay a portion of your certification through the FSA Organic Certification Cost Share Program.
For specific conservation assistance that may interest you, check out NRCS Assistance for Organics.
The USDA National Organic Program has resources from a comprehensive list of organic farms to certification information.
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.
- Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections
- Research and Promotion Programs
- USDA's Federal Advisory Committees
News and Resources
- The Farmers.gov Blog
- Have a question? AskUSDA
- Recording of May 6, 2021 Listening Session on Impacts of Covid-19 on New Farmers
- May 4, 2021 News Release: USDA Announces Listening Session on Impacts of COVID-19 on New Farmers
- Ask the Expert: Beginning Farmer and Rancher Q&A with Sarah Campbell
- Nov 9, 2020: Blog: USDA Service Centers Provide Free, One-on-One Help for Farmers
- Oct 1, 2020: Rural Energy for America (REAP) Guaranteed Loans & Grants
- Aug 11, 2020 News Release: USDA Announces More Eligible Commodities for CFAP
- July 9, 2020 News Release: Additional Commodities Now Eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
- Jan 2020: Rural Development Value-Added Producer Grants
Find Your Local Service Center
We are committed to delivering USDA services to America’s farmers and ranchers while taking safety measures in response to the pandemic. Some USDA offices are beginning to reopen to limited visitors by appointment only. Service Center staff also continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Learn more at farmers.gov/coronavirus.
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 offices.usda.gov.
Visit the Risk Management Agency website to ﬁnd a regional or compliance office or to ﬁnd an insurance agent near you.