Financial Resources — Farm Aid Resource Guide

Creating a financial plan for your farm business will help you achieve your goals. Explore the resources below to learn about agricultural lending, contract agreements, financial planning, loan and grant programs, and more.

Getting Started, Getting Support

Do you need farm financing, but don't know where to begin? Take a look at RAFI's Farmer's Guide to Agricultural Credit to help understand agricultural finance and prepare for the credit application process.

Considering contract farming? Make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities by reading the Farmers' Legal Action Group's (FLAG) guides to Marketing Contracts, Poultry & Livestock Production Contracts or Seed Contracts.

The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) offers a financing book for new, sustainable farmers called Fearless Farm Finances, as well as a list of funds available for farmers.

Get familiar with the fundamentals of financing via ATTRA's Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers.

Accessing USDA Programs

Contact your local Farm Service Agency for information about low-interest loans available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Check out FLAG's Farmers' Guide to the Farm Service Agency Microloan Program [PDF link] for everything you need to know about the USDA FSA program.

USDA's FSA has issued a plain language guide to applying for FSA loans and FSA loan servicing called Your Guide to FSA Loans [PDF link] that is helpful for farmers of all types.

The Center for Rural Affairs' Guide to USDA Farm Service Agency Beginning Farmer Loan Programs offers excellent guidance to FSA programs targeted to the next generation of family farmers.

If you're new to farming, navigate financing options for beginning farmers with the Center for Rural Affairs' funding sources site.

The Practical Farmers of Iowa provide financing resources [PDF link] and business planning [PDF link] lists that cater to new operations as well as established farms looking to expand.

If you're interested in federal funding, see the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's list of conservation programs for sustainable agriculture, including deadlines and eligibility requirements. Contact your local NRCS office to learn more.

Alternative Financing

If you're interested in non-traditional lending sources, check out Slow Money's list of investment options. While the list is intended for investors, it includes several funds and programs that are looking to invest in farms.

See The Carrot Project's list of Farm Financing Options for smaller and alternative farm operations. Most resources listed are targeted to New England farmers, however the list provides an outline of the different type of financing options available in regions across the country.

Check out Affording OURLAND: Financial Literacy for Young Farmers from Agrarian Trust and The Greenhorns to learn about alternative approaches for financing.

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