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
From farm loans to crop insurance, and conservation programs to disaster assistance, USDA is here to support you and your operation.
Coordinators and Service Centers
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.
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.
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 farmers.gov 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.
Read more about what you can do with a farmers.gov Account.
Tools on Farmers.gov
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.
Answer a few short questions to learn about USDA farm loans that might be right for you.
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.
- Farmers.gov Blog: Beginning Farmers
- Have a Question? AskUSDA
- Get Started! A Guide to USDA Resources for Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers
- USDA Small and Mid-sized Farmer Resources
- USDA CARES Partner Portal – Resources for underserved farmers, ranchers, and landowners and partners who work with them
- September 13, 2023: Ask the Expert: Beginning Farmer and Rancher Q&A with Lindsey Abentroth
- November 9, 2020: Blog: USDA Service Centers Provide Free, One-on-One Help for Farmers
- October 28, 2020: USDA’s Support for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
- April 24, 2020 Blog: Ask the Expert: Beginning Farmer and Rancher Q&A with Sarah Campbell
Beginning Farmers Blog Posts
Ask the Expert: Veterans Transitioning to Production Agriculture Q&A with Chris Groskreutz
Find Your Local Service Center
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.