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Resources and Tools

USDA has 150-plus years of experience supporting new farmers and ranchers, and we are constantly adding new tools to support the next generation of agriculture.

Whether you are a veteran looking to begin a new type of service feeding a hungry world or a person who would like to support a new generation of agriculture, USDA can help you get started.


"It is key to support new and beginning farmers and ranchers. They are our future – and we must do everything we can in the present to enable them to get started and to help them share in and grow the successes of American agriculture."
- Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden

USDA Welcomes Veterans to the New Farmers Web Site

There are many USDA programs available to help a returning veteran get started in a career in agriculture; and we at USDA are excited to work with you as you begin this new type of service: providing food, fuel, and fiber for a growing world.

USDA offers lending assistance, conservation technical assistance, help building and growing markets for your products, and so much more, as detailed in this Web site.

There are also additional programs that can be helpful to a veteran looking to finance their ventures, including the Farm Residence loan (PDF, 415KB) offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which can be used for the purchase, construction, repair, alteration, or improvement of a farm residence that is or will be occupied by a veteran.

Google+ Hangouts

Join USDA experts and policy leaders as they discuss topics of interest to new farmers and access previous discussions.

Google+ Hangout on Accessing Credit for your Farm or RanchThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website.

Google+ Hangout on the Changing Face of Agriculture with USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta HardenThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website.

Google+ Hangout on Local and Regional Food Systems and #MyFarmBillThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website.

Google+ Hangout on StrikeForce Opportunities with Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website.

Land Transfer Tools

USDA offers several tools to landowners who want to support a new farmer or rancher who needs access to farm land.

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

The Natural Resources Conservation Service provides financial assistance to eligible partners for purchasing agricultural land easements that protect the agricultural use and conservation value of eligible land. In the case of working farms, this program can help farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture.

Conservation Reserve Program Transition Incentives Program

The Transition Incentives Program provides for the transition of expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land from a retired or retiring owner or operator to a beginning, veteran, or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher. This program can provide annual rental payments for up to two additional years after the expiration of the CRP contract, provided the transition is not to a family member.

Down Payment Program

Retiring farmers can utilize the Farm Service Agency's Down Payment Program (PDF, 257KB) to transfer their land to future generations.

Land Contract Guarantees

Certain financial guarantees (PDF, 257KB) are available to the seller of a farm through a land contract sale to a beginning farmer. The seller may request either of the following:

  • Prompt Payment Guarantee: A guarantee up to the amount of three amortized annual installments, plus the cost of any related real estate taxes and insurance.
  • Standard Guarantee: A guarantee of 90 percent of the outstanding principal balance under the land contract.

Beginning Farmers Cattle Operation Benefits from Initiative for Underserved Farmers

Emma and Percy Brown of Vicksburg, Miss., are beginning farmers whose lives have benefited from funding through the USDA StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity initiative.For over a year, Mississippi retirees Percy and Emma Brown traveled 50 miles roundtrip three times a week from their home in Vicksburg, Miss. to their farm in Port Gibson in order to water their cattle. It was a time consuming process that involved filling up eight barrels with many gallons of water for the growing cattle herd. That all changed when the Browns, who were new to farming, heard about USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency that helps private landowners implement conservation.

For more, read the entire blog.