Agriculture is a competitive field with a lot of uncertainty. Farm grants often fill in the needs of those in this business who need some financial stability while expanding or developing new products and offerings. There are many grants for farming in various locations and with different requirements or niches. Here are a few USDA farm grants that may apply to various agriculture businesses throughout the U.S.
USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service runs a Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to support the production of certain crops. This is an annual program, which provided $72.9 million to state departments of agriculture in 2022. That funding then goes to support farmers growing specialty crops like fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops. Some may offer direct farmer grants, while others may use funds for technical assistance and other services. The overall goal is to ensure a healthy and affordable supply of these foods throughout the country.
Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program
The Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program provides grants directly to food processing businesses. The USDA facilitates the program, which aims to grow the country’s meat processing sector and improve supply chain resiliency. Eligible producers can use funds to build new equipment, modernize existing facilities, ensure compliance with industry standards, or other activities that support growth. Grants may fund up to 20 percent of total project costs, up to $25 million.
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program offers grants to organizations that support new farmers. Some of these organizations may offer grants for starting a farm, while others offer training, education, and technical assistance. The USDA program provides mandatory funds that must be used in the support of beginning farmers and ranchers around the country.
Value Added Producer Grants
Value Added Producer Grants provide financial support to farmers and ranchers looking to expand in some way. Funds may be used to develop new products, launch marketing campaigns, or increase production. The program is open to various agriculture businesses, but priority is granted to family farms, beginning and socially-disadvantaged farmers, and veterans. So this is one of the top options for veteran farm grants and new farmer grants. Planning grants may be up to $75,000, while working capital grants provide up to $250,000.
Farmers Market Promotion Program
The Farmers Market Promotion Program provides support to businesses and communities that want to create producer-to-consumer markets. The program aims to increase the availability of farm products by helping to develop, coordinate, train, and organize outreach for farmers’ markets and similar strategies. Funding limits and eligibility vary widely, but a 25 percent match is required.
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Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant Program
The USDA’s Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant Program offers technical assistance to small, socially-disadvantaged agricultural businesses. Grants go directly to eligible cooperatives and development support centers throughout the country. Those recipients then use funds from these farming grants to support local farms in their communities. This program may be especially relevant to those in underrepresented groups, like those looking for small farm grants or farm grants for women.
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