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Grants and Cost-Share Opportunities

Grants

Value Added Producer Grant (USDA Rural Development) – the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of new products.

Farmers’ Guide to Applying for the Valued-Added Producer Grant Program

Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund – small grant program that provides direct assistance to veterans who are in their beginning years of farming or ranching. The Fellowship Fund does not give money directly to the veteran, but rather to third-party vendors for items the veteran has identified will make a crucial difference in the launch of their farm business. Awards range from $1,000 to $5,000.

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) – the Producer Grants program is for individual farmers and farmer groups to conduct research, marketing and education projects.Speciality Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) – North Carolina Department of Agriculture distributes grant funds to organizations and individuals to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

Farm Service Agency – provides family farmers with access to credit to support their businesses. The various FSA Loan programs include Guaranteed Farm Loan funds, Direct Operating and Direct Farm Ownership loan funds, Microloan funding and Youth loans. Funding is also set aside for historically underserved farmers and ranchers.

Farmers’ Guide to the Microloan Program – this guide will introduce readers to the Microloan Program offered through the USDA Farm Service Agency. The Microloan Program provides operating loans designed to meet the needs of small and beginning farmers, non-traditional, specialty crop and niche type operations by easing some requirements and paperwork.

Farmer’s Guide to Agricultural Credit – accessing capital is one of the many challenges facing farmers. By using this guide, you’ll learn how to: 1) assess and potentially improve your credit score, 2) initiate the business planning process for your farm enterprise, and 3) approach a lender with a well-written business plan and loan application materials.

Farm Storage Facility Loans (FSFLs) – provide low-interest financing for producers to store, handle and/or transport eligible commodities they produce.

Self-Help Credit Union’s Healthy Food System Finance – loans to businesses and nonprofits that work to improve the way food is produced, distributed and sold. They lend to food aggregators and distributors, grocery stores and food co-ops, entrepreneurs hoping to start food businesses, urban farmers expanding their distribution networks in low-income communities, and food waste and recycling companies.

Cost-Share Funding Programs

Funding for on-farm, innovative projects is available through three NC grant programs. Those interested in applying for funding should visit one of the following websites for more information about grant cycles and funding priorities.

NC AgVentures Grant Program – available statewide

UMO AgPrime Grant Program – available to 33 Eastern NC counties

WNC AgOptions Grant Program – available to 22 Western NC counties

**RAFI-USA previously coordinated the Agricultural Reinvestment Fund grant program which assisted entrepreneurial and innovative farmers and collaborative groups, distributing over $6 million over 22 years. Click here to view a list of past grant recipients.

EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) – provides financial assistance for the cost of implementing conservation practices. Natural Resource Conservation Service provides agricultural producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement conservation practice improvements.

High Tunnel System Initiative – through EQIP, farmers can access financial assistance to purchase high tunnels for their operation. EQIP Fact Sheet

EQIP Organic Initiative Conservation Practices for Your Farm – examples of conservation practices that EQIP-OI will finance. (CFSA)

Cold Storage Financing Program – available to NC farmers; provides financing and support to small, midscale and limited resource farmers to acquire portable or stationary cold storage units. A low interest loan from Natural Capital Investment Fund is paired with a NC Growing Together grant that “buys down” the cost of purchasing cold storage units.

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