Each year millions of dollars are available to fund farm projects, from conducting on-farm research to adding value to raw agricultural products.
Grants help farmers, rural businesses and other agriculture advocates develop and strengthen the food system. Unlike traditional financing, recipients are not required to pay back grant funds.
Where to find funding
More about farm finances:
Grant funding is available through federal, state and private organizations.
The United States Department of Agriculture allocates grant funding to support local and regional food supply chains through seven agencies: Agricultural Marketing Service, Farm Service Agency, Food and Nutrition Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development and Risk Management Agency. www.grants.gov is the one-stop shop for federal grants.
Individual state departments of agriculture furnish grants to build farm businesses and protect farmland. For Ohio, grant information can be found on the Ohio Department of Agriculture website.
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Grants support knowledge projects.
Grants may be restricted to individual producer applicants, producer networks or farmers market authorities. Some grant programs give priority to underserved populations or areas in need of economic development.
Project eligibility is determined by the grant program’s main objective. The Farm to School Grants Program funds projects that start or improve access to fresh foods in schools. Natural Resources Conservation Service grants support eco-friendly projects.
Some grants require matching funds. Most grant funding must be utilized within a set term after award.
How to apply
- Determine which program is right for your project. Review the Request for Proposal (RFP) and previously funded projects.
- Make sure you and your project idea meet eligibility requirements.
- Download helper documents and/or application toolkit from the grant’s website. Grant toolkits guide applicants through the application process. Your local library has grant writing books. Additional grant writing resources are available online. Your state department of agriculture or rural development office can answer specific questions pertaining to public grants.
- If the grant requires you to obtain EIN, DUNS or CAGE code numbers, or System for Awards Management registry, start the process immediately.
- Gather required information and documents listed in the RFP.
- Complete application. Have your business plan, tax, financial and legal records handy when filing; you will reference them often.
- Submit application by the deadline.
STAY INFORMED. SIGN UP!
Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!