Does your operation include specialty crops? USDA offers a variety of programs and services that support your farm. Whether you grow fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, or nursery crops, we have options for you.
USDA may be able to help you access capital. And we can be a good partner if you aren’t able to get funding from a traditional lender.
We offer loans directly through USDA and also guarantee loans through other lenders.
Loans available directly through USDA range from $50,000 microloans to a maximum of $400,000 for operating loans and up to $600,000 for ownership loans.
Alternatively, you can apply for a guaranteed loan through USDA-approved banks and other commercial lenders. The maximum loan amount for a Guaranteed Farm Operating Loan is adjusted annually each Fiscal Year based on inflation.
Combined Ownership & Operating Loans
Combined ownership & operating loans help purchase land and equipment and meet day-to-day costs.
As a specialty crop farmer, microloans are designed to meet your needs. Microloans can help you make a down payment on land, purchase needed farm equipment, and more.
More information on these loans can be found in our Farm Loan Discovery Tool.
USDA also offers:
- Farm Storage Facility Loans (FSFL): Funds are used to build or upgrade on-farm storage facilities and to purchase handling equipment.
- Marketing Assistance Loans (MAL): Funds are used to provide interim financing to producers so eligible commodities can be stored and sold when market conditions are better.
To get help, contact the Farm Service Agency (FSA) at your local USDA Service Center.
Protection and Recovery
Depending on where you farm, natural disasters like hurricanes or freeze may impact your operation. USDA provides risk protection by offering crop insurance and the Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). We offer insurance to protect Whole-Farm Revenue (WFRP), specialty crops, and more. If you are interested in learning more about insuring your specialty crops, please contact your local RMA specialty crop insurance liaison. Have a crop that isn’t covered by Federal Crop Insurance? You may be able to find coverage through NAP.
To explore crop insurance, contact an Approved Insurance Provider.
Disaster Assistance Programs
If disaster strikes, we offer other disaster assistance programs to offset losses and get you back on your feet. For specialty crops, the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) is a relevant program for qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers.
Emergency loans provide up-front funding to support recovery, and the Emergency Conservation Program covers costs of restoring conservation practices.
We can help you plan and implement conservation practices to benefit both natural resources and your bottom line.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will work with you to discuss your goals and develop a conservation plan for your operation. If you want to get started at home, you can also use our Conservation Concerns Tool to explore the different types of conservation issues that could impact the natural resources and productivity of your farm and conservation practices that might be right for you.
Common Conservation Activities
Common conservation activities for specialty crop farms include:
NRCS can also help with practices like crop rotations, cover crops, mulching, nutrient management and no-till or conservation tillage. These practices feed the soil, reduce erosion, improve soil structure, enhance nutrient cycling and water retention, and suppress weeds. Conservation plantings such as field borders, hedgerows, and riparian buffers can help protect water and soil resources and provide wildlife and pollinator habitat.
NRCS can coordinate with farmers’ integrated pest management plans to include insectaries to attract beneficial insects, companion plantings to draw pests away from crops, and installing nesting sites such as bat and owl boxes.
If certain parts of your farm are not ideal for cultivation, conservation easements or longer-term conservation options may be right for you. For example, the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) helps protect prime farmland from urban and suburban encroachment.
To learn more about conservation, contact the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or Farm Service Agency (FSA) at your local USDA Service Center.
Are you an organic farmer or a new farmer interested in farming organically? USDA can help organic producers of specialty crops through a variety of programs and services, from farm loans to crop insurance, and conservation programs to disaster assistance. The Organic Certification Cost Share Program can even help with certification costs.
USDA is dedicated to reaching a broad set of producers and agricultural businesses through our Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Visit farmers.gov/pandemic-assistance for information on programs and services specific to your operation.
- April 10, 2023: NRCS Announces $75 Million to Assist Producers Transitioning to Organic as Part of USDA’s Organic Transition Initiative
- February 14, 2023: USDA Expands Hurricane Insurance Protection to Include Certain Tropical Storms
- January 20, 2023: USDA Announces Signup for 2023 Assistance for On-Farm Food Safety Expenses for Specialty Crop Growers
- January 11, 2023: USDA Reminds Producers of Continuous Certification Option for Perennial Forage
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.