Need help starting or growing your farm operation? Have you had crop losses from drought or other disasters? Our Connectors are trained to navigate federal programs, paperwork, deadlines and regulations to make sure that non-traditional farmers and growers are able to access these important opportunities to get loans, cost-share funding and technical support. We can offer language translation services and one-on-one mentorship, as well as personal introductions to federal acronyms, offices and employees.
FSA: Getting started with the federal Farm Service Agency to access loans for land and facilities purchases
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is a branch
of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
that serves America’s farmers by providing credit to producers who are unable to access private commercial credit. FSA places special emphasis on assisting beginning, minority and women farmers and ranchers. FSA also provides producers with a strong safety net through farm commodity and disaster programs. FSA’s long- standing tradition of conserving the nation’s natural resources continues through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). FSA also purchases and delivers commodities for use in international humanitarian food programs.
NRCS: Getting started with the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service to access funding and technical support for hoop houses, irrigation, fencing and other crop investments
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is a branch of the U. S. Department of Agriculture that works with farmers to keep America's soil and water healthy. Through voluntary conservation programs, NRCS helps producers, soil and water conservation districts, and other partners protect and conserve natural resources on private lands throughout the United States. NRCS offers technical support and cost-share funding for hoop houses, livestock fencing, irrigation, and livestock water lines that help conserve soil and water resources. In January, NRCS announced a new Urban Agriculture initiative that will assist small scale urban and traditionally underserved growers. Producers can learn more or apply for a program by contacting or walking in to a local USDA Service Center.
ERP and PARP: Getting started with Disaster Assistance through the Emergency Relief and Pandemic Assistance Revenue Programs
Did a natural disaster like the drought of 2021 or 2020 cause a loss of revenue from farming for you? If so, you may be eligible for support from USDA’s Emergency Relief Program (ERP) or the Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP) if you sign up by June 2, 2023. Click to reach a Disaster Assistance Connector.
ERP provides financial assistance to vegetable growers and others for losses caused, at least in part, by a qualifying natural disaster event experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021. Our Connectors are partnering with USDA to inform Minnesota and Wisconsin growers of this resource, and to help affected farmers to sign up by the June deadline. As part of this effort, Connectors help growers to sign up for crop insurance and to improve record-keeping systems.
USDA: Getting to know your United States Department of Agriculture Service Center
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EVENTS: Getting to know your local federal program employees and neighboring farmers
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FIELD DAYS: Learning about production best practices at local farms and gardens
Connectors team with each other and local farm organizations to host 14 on-farm field days every year. At these gatherings, beginning and historically underserved growers gain skills to succeed at production, finances, marketing and navigating agency resources. Farmers also make important connections with other farmers and local farm agency professionals. Of course, food and fun are always a part of the agenda!