After creating a business plan, you'll be ready to start talking with staff at your local USDA Service Center. They can meet with you one-on-one to help identify USDA programs that will meet the needs of your operation.
Keep reading about meeting with your local USDA Service Center staff below or jump to a different section of the farmer's journey.
USDA Service Centers are offices where you can meet with Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff to discuss your vision, goals, and ways USDA can help. 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 are applying for a loan, your FSA loan officer will review your business plan and assist you in translating your plan and farm vision to your application or they can refer you to an advisor in your area who has experience in helping new farmers and ranchers.
Language translation service is also available in all USDA Service Centers, so one-on-one assistance with a service center employee can be translated in real time.
Farm Service Agency
FSA provides disaster assistance, safety net, farm loan, and conservation programs and is the go-to agency for many USDA records. If you’re new to working with USDA, your FSA team member will help you register your farm with a farm number. Depending on what you raise or grow, filling out your crop acreage report each season can ensure you’re eligible for many programs and allows you to vote in county FSA elections. These services are free.
Natural Resources Conservation Service
NRCS provides financial and technical assistance for voluntary conservation programs. Your NRCS team member will ask about your goals for your land and can help you develop a conservation plan and file an application for the wide range of NRCS programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Your Service Center Visit
Before Your Visit
Make an appointment. These 30-60 minute appointments with your local Service Center ensure quick service, especially at busy times around program sign-up and reporting deadlines.
Prepare. During your call, ask what documents are needed to help to make the most of your appointment. If you own land, bring a copy of your deed and plat, if possible. If you lease land, bring a copy of your lease agreement.
- The Get Started page provides a list of potential documents you may need.
During Your Visit
Discuss your operation. Based on your farm business plan, we can help you navigate the process of registering your farm to get access to USDA programs and assistance. By understanding your specific vision and challenges, our Service Center staff can recommend programs and resources best suited for your operation.
If you already have land, register for a farm number to participate in USDA programs. With a farm number you can apply for FSA farm loans, disaster assistance, and crop insurance as well as for conservation programs through NRCS.
As a beginning farmer or rancher, access to land and capital is probably one of your biggest needs. Whether it’s to purchase property or equipment, or to meet operating costs, USDA offers a variety of programs and resources that can help you.
How to Start a Farm with USDA
Get an overview of the beginning farmer's journey or jump to a specific page below.
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.