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More women farmers are getting into the field. So you’d think getting farm grants or other loans would be simple. There has been an increase of women farmers, but grants for farmers are still difficult. Finding the right grant for your farm is difficult, with more female farmers looking for funding to support their operations and expand their farming capabilities than ever.
There are still many farm grants for women farmers. We will discuss seven farm grants women can apply for and the expectations you should have.
Grant and Financing Resources for Women Farmers
Farm grants for women farmers can be difficult to find, but they do exist. Below is a list of federal and local grants specifically targeted at women and other financing resources available to all farmers. Many farming grants are for farmers who are currently or are interested in sustainable agriculture. You might be able to think about that as you look through the list.
Also, read Best Louisiana Grants For Small Business
If you have difficulty finding grants for female farmers, we encourage you to join agricultural associations supporting women farmers like the American Agri-Women. These organizations can help you connect to financial resources and provide you with networking opportunities and education.
1. United States Department of Agriculture
Although the United States Department of Agriculture doesn’t provide farmers grants, they grant funding to women and minority farmers through the Socially Disability Applicant Funding (SDA). SDA funding will only be granted if you can provide the required information on your loan application, including your ethnicity and race.
For women farmers looking for assistance in purchasing a family farm, USDA also offers the Direct Family Ownership Down payment Loan. The USDA will finance up to 45% of the loan amount for women farmers. Female farmers who are eligible for this loan will have to pay only 5% of the farm’s purchase price.
USDA’s Office of Rural Development also offers Value Added producer grants, which are funds for farmers who want new products or to expand marketing opportunities. Priority for these grants is given to beginning farmers and economically disadvantaged farmers. Grant recipients can get grants of up to $75,000 for those who applied for the Planning Grant and $250,000 for those who applied to the Working Capital Grants. Before you apply for the Value Added Producer Award, speak to one of USDA’s Business Programs Experts.
2. Program for Women and Minorities – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fields
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fields Program ( WAMS) is a cost share grant program that can support research into projects that increase healthy food consumption and the economic viability of small-scale farmers. This grant program encourages women to participate in rural areas and helps build a wider range of agricultural scientists and educators. WAMS applications must be submitted through Grants.gov
3. Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture sponsors the Mayer Boyer Sustainable Agriculture and Food Grant for female farmers in North Carolina. You can apply for this grant if you are a woman farmer or rancher in these counties:
The grant will support local farmers in implementing solutions to overcome marketing and production challenges. Two grant recipients each will receive $2,000, and interested applicants will need to submit an application outlining how the funds will help your farm grow or improve.
Also, read Best Small Business Grants Alabama
4. SARE Grants
SARE Grant Program is a program that provides grants of up to $250,000 for research projects that support sustainable agriculture. There are different grants available depending on the region. Other grant programs may be available, such as Rancher Grant. This is an exclusive program to North Central SARE. It provides $9,000 to $27,000 in grants to farmers who want or need to start projects related to sustainable agriculture. These grants cannot be used as a funding source to start a new farm. However, they can be used, among other things, for marketing, crop rotations, pest management, and other purposes. To apply for a SARE grant in your region, contact your SARE office. You can also submit an online proposal.
5. Young Farmer Grant Program
National Young Farmers Coalition’s Young Farmer Grant Program should be of interest to young female farmers looking to set up or grow their own farm. This grant program is designed to help next-generation farmers and ranchers. It awards $5,000 to 50 new or aspiring farmers. Female-identifying, nonbinary and trans farmers will receive at least 50% of these grants. The guidelines say grant recipients can use the grant for new equipment, operational costs, or hiring new labor.
To be eligible for the Young Farmer Grant, applicants must be the farmer or owner of a business and under 40. It is necessary to submit a detailed application outlining how the grant will be used to support your operations.
6. FACT Fund a Farmer Grant
Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) has granted nearly half a million in grants to family and individual farmers who have participated in projects that improved animal welfare using its Farmer Grant program. Each grant recipient receives $2,500. There are three types:
- Animal Welfare Certification GrantThe Animal Welfare Certification Grant helps farmers get one of these certifications: Certified Humane or Animal Welfare Approved.
- Capacity Boosting Grant: This grant can be used by farmers who have been AWA, CH, and GAP certified. It will provide funding for marketing and expansion.
- Pasture Improvement Grant To help farmers improve the quality of their pastures and their animals’ access to pasture, the Pasture Improvement Grant was created.
The eligibility requirements for each grant are different, but in general, farmers must be actively involved with the farm’s daily operations and the animals. Online applications with details about the farm, project, and budget are required for successful applicants. Potential applicants might be required to upload photos of the farm and animals.
7. Vermont Farm Women’s Fund
The Vermont Farm Women’s Fund helps women farmers to build their farm businesses. They offer scholarships to women farmers interested in continuing their education and training to help improve their farms. These scholarships may be used to pay for courses and educational conferences. The scholarship is limited to $150 and 75% of the conference or course fee fees. All interested applicants should complete an online application. The form asks for basic contact information and requires applicants to answer questions about their farming history, income, and educational goals.
Also, read Grants For Black Business Owners
8. FruitGuys Community Fund
Another viable grant option is The FruitGuys Community Fund. This nonprofit agency grants small farms up to $5,000 and agricultural nonprofits $2,000 to $5,000 each to support projects that help farms become more sustainable. These projects will be given preference if they are related to water conservation or natural pest control, energy efficiency, community building, or any other aspect of sustainability.
All applicants who are interested in applying should be the farm’s owner and agree to engage in community outreach. A farm must be classified as small or medium in size. A letter of intent must be submitted before the deadline to apply.
The Bottom Line
As we have mentioned, finding a grant that will support women farmers can be challenging. But we also want to highlight that scholarships are available to assist female farmers in building their farm businesses. Women in Agriculture, for example, offers a $2,500 scholarship to female farmers interested in learning about building their farming businesses. Our guides provide information for women business owners that can apply to your farming business.
Noting that there may not be many farm grants for women, but there are still many general farm grant opportunities is also important. Your best chance to secure a grant for farm work is local. It’s a good idea to search for grants from local private organizations before looking into federal programs.