It costs money to start a business, and a farm business is no different. Farmland, equipment, labor, and marketing are all cost-intensive. In order to gain access to capital, you must understand what the lender is looking for: a return on their investment. Personal character and credit history go a long way for lenders, but so does a solid business plan. When it comes to seeking financial support, be professional, prepared, and patient. Here are some possible sources of capital for farmers:
- Grants are few, generally a long shot, and highly competitive. When they are available, they are most often targeted at existing farms’ new projects. Check our grants list to see if any might work for you.
- Loans are the most likely way to finance a farm or a farm expansion. Loans can be from friends or family, from a mainstream commercial or farm credit lender, or from a nontraditional or nonprofit lender. ASAP has helped farmers connect with several lenders, including Shade Fund, Carolina Farm Credit, Self-Help, Natural Capital Investment Fund, and the USDA.
- Mountain BizWorks also offers microloans and can help you with loan packaging and connections to other lenders.
- If you are considering pursuing a loan for your farm, we highly recommend reviewing The Farmer’s Guide To Agricultural Credit – RAFI. This guide will walk you through the different types of agricultural loans, and help you understand the criteria that lenders consider when reviewing loan applicants.