We know that America's farmers and rural communities are vitally important to our nation's economy, producing the food, feed, fiber and fuel that continue to help us grow. There are hundreds of programs and resources available to help meet these efforts. However, sometimes it’s hard to know where to look. To overcome this challenge, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Library, in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation, has created www.Start2Farm.gov, an online database connecting beginning farmers and ranchers with available programs and resources.
Start2Farm.gov allows potential and beginning farmers to search for programs and resources for training, financing, technical assistance, and business-to-business support. The database, which includes hundreds of records, is searchable by geographical area or by topic. Additional features include a ‘Thinking about farming?’ tutorial, and an event calendar.
Start2Farm.gov was funded via the NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), a competitive grant for America’s new farmers and ranchers. In 2009, the first year of NIFA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, three-year grants supported training for 5,000 beginning farmers and ranchers. In 2011, it is anticipated that these grants will have supported training for more than 10,000 beginning farmer and ranchers. In addition to offering resources and information for new and beginning farmers, State2Farm.gov will coordinate the efforts and stories of all BFRDP grantees.
Start2farm.gov will be showcased at the American Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Rancher Conference, to be held February 18-20 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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My husband has passed away this last year and I was left with 6 acres of almonds that I know nothing about. I really have no money to get the land ready. My husband always hired someone to do the harvesting but the person is too busy. I would like to know if there is someone who would like to lease my almond farm and I would only get a small percentage of the profit.
I may live in the city but I want to learn how to be a farmer. I usually have a small vegetable garden, which usually starts off with a small selection of seeds. I would like to know how to grow better quality vegetables to own a harmers stand to sell them. At least that is my dream, on how to make a profitable buisness growing fresh vegetables
Thank you for your comment to the Start2Farm.gov Helps Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Get Started blog post. A couple of organizations that might be able to provide some help come to mind as I read your concerns:
1) California FarmLink
Landowners may post a “land opportunity” on the website and/or receive succession planning assistance using the "Retiring Farmer Questionnaire" available on the lower left of the Home page menu.
2) University of California Fruit and Nut Research and Information Center
The University of California Farm Advisors should be able to connect you with others involved with almond production in your area and perhaps facilitate a leasing agreement.
Locate a Farm Advisor: http://fruitsandnuts.ucdavis.edu/ce/locate_advisor/crop/?ds=202&reportn…
Since most of the almond production in the U.S. is located in California, I have directed you to resources in this state. If your land is in another state, please contact me through the Start2Farm.gov at info@Start2Farm.gov, or 800-633-7701 (toll-free) and I will find resources specific to your state.
Thank you for taking time to comment about your experience on the Start2Farm.gov Helps Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Get Started blog post.
Start2Farm.gov was created for people exactly in your position. We created a whole “Thinking about Farming” section of the site at http://www.start2farm.gov/new-to-farming to help people understand what running a farm business entails.
From there, people can continue to explore resources and training on the New to Farming page at http://www.start2farm.gov/topic/New-to-Farming.
We also provide several tools for farm business planning to help you translate your dreams to paper on our Successful Planning page at http://www.start2farm.gov/topic/Successful-Planning.
Start2Farm.gov includes hundreds of programs and resources for beginning farmers and we are constantly adding more, but if you do not find what you are looking for, please contact us at info@Start2Farm.gov, or 800-633-7701 (toll-free) for additional assistance.
Stephanie M. Ritchie
I would like to say to maryam khatami that she has a great offer for someone interested. You should not undervalue your property and investment in the trees. It is common for row crop landowners to receive 50% of the sale of the crops. You should get legal and tax advice regarding whether to divide the crop or receive a rental payment from the tenant.
I spent four hours on this cryptic, dense, official-ese infused "start2farm" website the other day attempting to do something I hoped might be fairly simple, just to see if it was. I had my doubts.
I've got a 5AC farm with 10 sheep and 9 hens at the edge of nowhere. I know it's the EDGE of nowhere rather than the middle of nowhere because I'm on a rural electric co-op and the folks in the brand new subdivision growing in the soybean field across the road are on commercial power. Needless to say, we lose power several times a week when they don't, and we're significantly more likely to lose power for hours - or days - at a time. Plus, we pay almost twice the KwH rate for the privilege. Gotta love federal programs!
Anyhow, I've had a passing idea for several years now [which my wife does not share] of possibly putting up a wind turbine in the pasture to generate AC electric that I can sell back to the co-op when it's more than we are using, install the cutoff so that when the co-op grid is down - which is several times a week - we don't electrocute the linemen fixing the lines ... the whole bit. "Are their ag grants to help do this?" I wondered.
So I looked. Followed your "grants" links, followed your "renewable energy" links, finally found a map where I could click on my state to find my state's Rural Energy for America Program grants people. Pulled up a page that proudly declared that there were a dozen field offices for this function, and a handful of satelite locations. The page also helpfully informed me that if I wanted to apply for a grant for rural energy to see the nearest one of those locations.
Great! Where are they?
None were listed.
I was told the USDA *has* them, but nothing on the page lists them. Nothing on the page points at an energy grant application form. Nothing on the page does anything more than give a handful of phone numbers of individuals associated with USDA offices all 175 miles away at my state's land grant university, and none identified as Rural Development State Office, or REAP, or renewable energy, or energy grants ...
Okay, seriously, what is the matter with you folks? Are you institutionally incapable of designing a website for practical functionality? Can you not visit any commercial operation's website to see how they do things and apply it yourselves? It's one thing to not be user-friendly - and no government website I've ever seen is - but do you have to be outright user-HOSTILE?
Your acronyms are only meaningful to YOU, not to the public. Your statutory and regulatory authorities [and endless citations of it] are only meaningful to YOU and to lawyers, not to the public. I tried to find the same page of your labyrinthine website again, only to fail ...over ... and over ... and over again.
All the "I Want To ..." links don't help. "I want to..." find a form. You have to know the form number and its arcane, acronymed, hyphenated title. "I want to ..." find a Rural Development office. As indicated: none listed.
Well, perhaps it's under the "grants" link on the left side of the page...? Nope, that puts me back at the link-dense page where you have to know the acronym of whatever program it is you're looking for that [finally] gets you to the page with the unlisted Rural Development offices. One great big circle.
If the USDA were a business it would have pre-emptively gone bankrupt before opening its doors. ...which might not be a bad idea, actually. You need to start over.
And after all this, I still don't know if there are ag grants for what I want.
I'm not a USDA employee, and I don't work for the government...so please don't take my advice as official.
But I read your problem with interest, and decided to see if I could resolve it. I think I might have some help for you.
I began at start2farm.gov.
From there I clicked on
1. Already Farming
2. Find Financing
3. About Grants
That brought me to a page listing five or six grants, including the REAP grants you mentioned.
I clicked on the REAP grant link on start2farm.org, and was immediately sent to the USDA's site for Rural Development, under their energy topic.
At the top right corner of that page was a box containing a link titled "About Energy Programs" and containing a link marked "Contacts".
Clicking that link provides me a contact person with email, web page, telephone, and physical address for every state, Alaska to Wyoming.
I can't speak for your state without more information, but when I looked at PA's web page, it gave me another list of people to contact depending on what county I was in.
It seems pretty straightforward.
You'll have to look for your own state, but you should find the REAP programs helpful. Hopefully I left a nice clear trail for you.
Best of luck with your issue.
I"m 33. Worked since I was 12, saved my $. bought 40 acres, planted about half of it in fruit trees, which are just starting to bear fruit. I NEED a cold storage facility, and it would be great to have a grading/packing shed also. My wife and kids would LOVE to have a house to live in instead of where we are now. BUT, this county FSA DOES NOT loan money, DOES NOT give grant money, DOES NOT in any way assist farmers...let alone YOUNG FARMERS. It is the managers goal to keep as much $ in the government coffers as possible. The Young and Beginning Farmer progarm is only for those who want to be a farmer...not for those who are already starting. If the USDA doesn't get it right pretty soon, I'm wondering if there will be food enough for my kids...certainly not for the grandkids.
Have been trying for three years to wade through the red tape of the USDA loans, grants, helps...sorry folks, don't get your hopes up. It's not there. Like a lot of things from the government...mostly hot air.
That's all what I did, pretty much exactly.
My state is IL. I don't have access to email [I'm on a DoD system, and email is "not secure" or some such rationalization - but I can get to dot-gov sites]. The IL REAP webpage has a notice for women/hispanic farmers only.
Under the "find a rural development office" **today** it connects me to Virginia. Last week when I tried this it sent me to a page where it had a dozen or more email addresses all in Champaign/Urbana but not one location of a Rural Dev Office.
Now I **did** check the PA link briefly. Under PA's "I want to find..." link - THAT'S what I'm talking about. You get this state map, color coded by region, showing county lines in each region, stars on the map where [presumably, I didn't check] the office is located.
I didn't look beyond that, though. Perhaps I should move to PA to raise sheep and erect the turbine my wife wants no part of.
My wife and I have rented a half acre to produce vegetables at a farm 30 minutes drive from our home for 5 years now. Thats an hour of driving total, 4-8 hours of work, 1-2 hours putting hoses and tools away, then cooking dinner when we get home. On top of this I work a full time job. We have learned much from this farmer, but he will not and cannot sell his land due to land conservancy.
We have always thought it would be great to buy some land and have a small market farm. The truth has always been disappointing!
First, land is unbelievably expensive. In our SW corner of MI land, even in larger acreage, sells for 5000-10000 dollars per acre. We would have to sell our home and deplete our savings and retirement just to buy land.
Next, when we have checked into semi-affordable land we find that the land that is already farm land has been will become residential when we buy it. This too is a major problem with starting a farm! Local Governments only want more tax revenues, they don't care about sustainable farms.
Next, almost every single 10+ acre parcel we looked into limited the number of farm animals you can have on that parcel. They would say no chickens allowed periord, or say only one chicken per acre. Seriously, there are way too many local goverbment regulations that deter you from becoming a farmer. All of this to deter the starting of a farm in suburbia!
Next, there are also restrictions on how you move onto the land. More regulations have been setup to keep you from actually starting as a farmer unless you build a house to start. We have found multiple townships that do this. They want your tax money, they don't want farms!
Finally, the realization that what money you actually make from all the long hard work you put in will not even pay your debt off! On top of that it won't be enough to pay health insurance or be enough to cover repeairs that come up for equipment. Unless things change the number of farmers will decline until the only thing left are the mega farms owned by just a few corporations that have monopolies over all of us! Think of it as oil companies providing food!
When my great grand parents came to the UP in MI they homesteaded and busted their behinds to make a go of it. These days land is handed down through families or sold at unbelievable cost. Many times the heirs sell their family worked lands off to make good or very good money. It's sold again to make excellent money by those building subdivisions.
so i got a business plain i am starting on so i can get some grants to start a bigger farm. i farm 300 acres in grass hay doing it for 5 years now. i raise 25 head of cattle. it is a family farm i want to branch out and own my own farm i am willing to learn to grow anything. i just need help with the capital to start it can anyone help a 23 year old kid to maybe get funded to start a farm.
I helped my father-in-law for almost 27yrs. He passed away from cancer and I would like to buy equipment and land from mother-in-law before she decides to sell out. How can I get a grant to buy this from her.
I am a 52 swm no kids. I applied for ssi but i fount out since i am gonna get money from a wreck i was involved in dealing with a dwi driver i am only going to get the back money from my case. I have no intentions of being a welfare person. But i fount out my plans on buying some land in Arizona feel thru cause the monthly money i was counting on to use to finish paying the land off was being withdrawn from my ssi c ase. So this me in a bind. The amount of land is roughly 36-37+ acreas for roughly 30,000.00. So i am asking for the grant(not a loan no way to know for certain if i could ever repay it). I am also asking for the money so i can get out from under the welfare umbrella. With this money i could buy the land plus if i could up with about another 20-30+,000 i could build a decent but not over the hill living place. If i could get the land i could always plant fruit trees veggies for my self and possibly sell any extras to make a little money. Otherwise i have no idea i will last. I have congestive heart failure uncontrollable diabetes nerve problems and I'm sure there's other things I'm forgetting. So i am not asking for money to get rich just for the ability to live and stay off the system. So if possible please contact me, kenneth. My phone maybe off as quite often i dont have the money to pay bills. I am simply trying to stay alive nothing else. Thank you for your time..
We have 16 acres in TX. We want to homestead. We want to grow local, eat local, sell local and organic. We need a starting point. We are new to farming. I want to learn as much as I can.
@Ashley - so excited to hear you want to get started in agriculture! USDA offers many programs that could be relevant to your future farm or ranch. To get started and find both resources and partners near you, please visit www.usda.gov/newfarmers. There you can find information regarding access to capital, risk management, education and technical assistance, marketing support, and connections to both USDA customer service professionals and key local partners – like Extension, near you. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
I want to start a farm. I have a kitchen garden, I produce everything. I want to start commercial How can you help me
@Mohammed Mehedi Hassan - so excited to hear you want to get started in agriculture! USDA offers many programs that could be relevant to your future farm or ranch. To get started and find both resources and partners near you, please visit www.usda.gov/newfarmers. There you can find information regarding access to capital, risk management, education and technical assistance, marketing support, and connections to both USDA customer service professionals and key local partners – like Extension, near you.
I'm interested in starting a small farm/ranch to raise Pygmy Goats and sell their milk to local business and restaurants who make cheese and yogurt. I also plan to keep bees and some chickens, and have a small portion of land set aside to farm small crop organic heirloom vegetables. I am coming from an office background and I have no farming/ranching experience, and I'm interested in finding out if it's even worth the time and effort to go after USDA grants, rather than searching for independent investors (which I'm certain will be difficult to obtain based on that lack of experience).
I need help starting a cattle herd
Does the government help people get farms and get started ? I have always wanted to farm but since my divorce I don't see that dream coming true without help. I can grow a bountiful garden and know that God and I would do just as good with row cropping or veggies.
@Darrell Peterson - Darrell, so excited to hear about your interest! There are tons of options for people who want to explore getting started in agriculture. A great first stop is usda.gov/newfarmers, where you can find all USDA’s resources for new and beginning farmers and ranchers. We’d also love to have you come by one of our offices to get more information on key programs that can help you get started, grow your farm or ranch, and manage risk (Find an Office Near You!)
The start2farm site is down.
I'm interested in finding funding for starting a goat farm.
@LILLIE BOYKIN - Thanks for reaching out to USDA. Please review this page for a summary of our loan programs: www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/index
One popular option is the FSA Microloan program. After reviewing the list of loans I suggest you reach out to your nearest State or County FSA office. You can find the office closest to you by clicking on this link: www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/index
Thank you very much for reaching out to USDA and please contact us if we can be of additional assistance.
Farm Service Agency
My Grandfather & Uncle were farmers when I was growing up, I spent most summers and most of my childhood helping with their farms. It taught me to work hard and to be proud of what I can do by being self motivated and never give up. I have purchased 40 acres and would like to start farming. I have began clearing the land to make way to start growing hay, fruit trees and honey bees. We have purchased some goats to help with the clearing. I was wondering if there is any assistance I could get to help with perimeter fencing of the 40 acres along with separating some areas for the fruit trees. Thanks
I am interested in starting a small farm
I am interested in the free 100 cows for new women rancher/ farmers.
I'm a new farm co-owner and interested in this program.
@Carter Tanner - Carter, so excited to hear about your interest! There are tons of options for people who want to explore getting started in agriculture. A great first stop is newfarmers.usda.gov, where you can find all USDA’s resources for new and beginning farmers and ranchers. We’d also love to have you come by one of our offices to get more information on key programs that can help you get started, grow your farm or ranch, and manage risk.
Have a couple of cows, a Hereford and a Angus bull. Have 10 acres that need to be fenced, already did 2 acres on own. Just wanting more information.
@Thomas O. Weisenberger - Thank you for your comment. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service works with farmers and ranchers like yourself to apply grazing practices like fencing on their land. We offer one-on-one, personalized advice and financial assistance through a variety of Farm Bill programs. You can find out more information on how to get started through our Environmental Quality Incentives Program and visit our website to locate your local USDA service center.
WOW I had know idea that programs like existed I have always wanted to raise cattle all my life and know for a fact I would be good at it I have been around cattle all my life I"v worked. FeedLots, Auctions I would love to do this if at all possible
I am sole owner of Regal Springs Elk Farm and as of right now I am the only person working it. This is a business start up, however, I have owned the property and have cared for the property and animals for over 4 years now. I wanted to start making money with the business however my soon to be ex husband did not share the same views. In our divorce aggreement I received full ownership of all elk, however, my ex husband got the house and property. I want to purchase the property from my ex husband and get this business going. The potential is here, but unfortunately due to the fact I was a homemaker for years and now getting divorced, getting started is difficult.
I do have some college experience as a liberal arts major.
I fully intend on eventually hiring a farm manager to oversee the day to day work on the farm. I will be hiring additional farm hands as the business grows. I will be working the farm as well, however, I plan on travelling to other farms, livestock auctions, and shows nationwide for networking and sales purposes. I will need employees to continue running the farm especially during that time.
I am hoping to provide new jobs in my community. Also, i'd like to be able to provide medical/dental insurance for my employees and their families. My plan is to contribute to helping the community and the ecomony, through creating a succesful business.
Hi I'm William Bruns I have over 20 years experience in cattle I would like to buy a ranch and raise Black Angus and sell to the government only
Hi I'm William Bruns I have over 20 years experience in cattle like to start a beef Ranch with Black Angus and contract through the government
@William Bruns - Thank you for your comment regarding USDA resources for beginning farmers. We will contact you directly to ensure we get you in touch with the right agency and resources to assist you. You can also check out a new website, newfarmers.usda.gov, which has a vast amount of information for new farmers, young farmers and veteran farmers. There, you can answer a few questions in the Discovery Tool, and it will pull together personalized information most helpful for you.
I was raised on a cattle farm and I will raise goats for the Nigeria friends that I work with. They have told me that it would be great for them and I.
I would like to start a farm with my two girls. Both girls are adults and are familiar with farming. I am a cancer survivor living on my social security only. My oldest daughter is bipolar manic depressive and this would be good to help her focus one stability and and learning how to control her feelings with A feeling of accomplishment. I would like to have a garden in raise animals. I do not have a property nor I nor do I own a home. I would like to learn to make goat cheese, roast chickens and plant a few crops. I also would like to purchase a small tractor and a four wheel small vehicle to assist in the fields. I do not need a large house I would like something small I could fix up with my children and a couple acres of land. This is my dream and hopefully my family will have this one day
I have always wanted to start a farm but have no land or money. It has always been a dream. How do I get started and is there any one that can help me.
@Jonathan Evans - thank you for your comment. There are many USDA agencies and opportunities that can help you as you begin farming, from assistance with loans to high tunnels to soil health practices. First, we’d recommend checking out the New Farmers website, particularly the area that focuses on new farmers. Secondly, USDA has service centers in nearly every county across the country. Visit farmers.gov to find an office near you and discover other local opportunities and assistance that meet your needs. Finally, you mentioned that you are looking for land and startup funding. The Farm Service Agency has loan programs for new farmers.
I've worked very hard all my life and always have had a love for farm animals. Ever since i was 11 i got my first chickens but had to keep them at my friends house, i would save my lunch money and ride my bike all the way to town every friday and buy my chicken feed back when it was $.10 a #. I've failed many times and have had to start over. Not my fault just the places i e moved my chickens too the people moved or we did. My huge love is horses and a even bigger love for cows but where we lived i couldnt have them. I started at 11 years old and a guy that was like another grandfather to me taught me how to ride horses and work cows and it blew up from there, i was hooked i would not be happy with life if i couldnt be around horses cattle and chickens everyday. At 13 i was working at local farms and cattle ranches and was very lucky at the ranches they took me in like their own and did everything old school all on horse back. But i never had a chance to own my own livestock, still had my chickens but no horses or cows. At 16 my uncle ended up with 5 acres and said if i fence it in i can put horses and cows there, i built that fence in no time and saved my money and bought a cow a month and got my first horses then. When i say fail i mean the land was lost and i was back to square one heart broken i had to sell off everything and had no more land. Longer story shorter i never gave up and i have cows horses goats pigs chickens and a sheep and built this place up and have 4 different pastures equalled upto 33 acres. Problem is im renting it this is not my property and im trying to find a way to get a grant and run a cattle farm bit i keep hitting walls and i get frustrated. Im 42 now and work very hard and my family helps with the farm here. I work full time in the emergency medical field on a ambulance as a first responder come home and work the farm and im also in school. I work hard and never give up and would love to get property that i can live on and farm that i can call my own and have something to pass down to my kids.. Thank you for your time to read this. Hope somebody can help.
I’m trying to get my goat farming career started and need some help!
@Timothy Ford - thank you for your comment. We are excited that you are interested in farming. Our New Farmers website has a variety of resources and information that may be helpful. We wish you good luck on your goat farming career!
I'm a man who want's to farm specifically bison and cows mostly bison but I have no land and I've had plenty of horse experience and I'm a great student I'm a very young 54 years of age and want to hand down my knowledge and experience to all wanting to learn I've been looking for some large tracts of land that I don't have to purchase but can use or lease in a certain amount of time once I become profitable in my farming but I also need somebody to teach me all I need to know and more about raising bison which I feel should be brought back as our main cattle in America because they are such a great animal in one of the most healthiest for our diet along with just giving it back what we have taken from this nation being that they are such a powerful strong beautiful animal it it's only right that we give back to them when we have taken I also want to do this for the future of my nation America without these majestic creatures will be lost it is part of our heritage cart of the natural American Heritage more so there's then hours but I would like to join the two together and making a more healthier choice in our nation and profitable for our nation and good for the overall environment I'm looking for this mostly to hand down to my family and continue this for generations to come I think it's a great idea just not sure if it would work without the help of everybody involved in the industry now in all the literature but again the land in the finances in my situation pose the only obstacle if anyone or any organization can help me out thank you for this opportunity and chance to put in some input hopefully I will hear from somebody soon or somebody needs a farm taken over and continue to run because they have no family left I would be more than willing to do so with me and my family again thank you for the opportunity
My husband and I are in a rent to own agreement on a 2 acre property. We've started with chickens and are in the crop planning stage now but as this is an old 1800's property, the barn, land and outbuildings have all fallen into disrepair. We would like to renovate them for agricultural use but the quotes we got back just for the barn took our breath away. We have over 10 years experience raising crops and small livestock, nothing on the books though so most USDA loans won't work for us. Would there be grant programs available to give us a hand? We're looking at setting up aquaponics systems and utilizing the property as best we can to not only turn a profit but provide the local food pantries with fresh, local produce. Thanks!
I wanna start a farm getting my Financial Capital up so I don’t have to struggle getting land cattle tractors all the tools I need to push forward looking to have a lot of land an worker to help graces the lands i’m looking to Start my farm in California where land is great for farming thanks
I am currently 29 yr and I am living on a farm with my fiance. And his father whom owns the farm...our calves hefers and mama cows are all in same barn its free stall I work on the farm as they do I'm in charge of the calves and heffiers... I'm looking for a grant to turn the old horse barn we have into a calf and hefier barn..so we have more room for mama cows were and how would I go about a out getting the grant I need to do so... let me know your information on this