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How to Start Farming: The What, Why, How & Wow  

Resources for New Farmers

  • Is Farming for You?
    A collection of how to start farming assessments, evaluations and road maps to help determine whether farming could be right for you. Consider the risks and rewards of a career or life in agriculture. 
  • Land Link
    The Center for Rural Affairs links beginning farmers and ranchers and established landowners to help secure the future of American family farms + an extensive list of other linking programs including breakdown by state.
  • Free Farm Business Planning Guide
    The Sustainable Agriculture Research & Agriculture (SARE) provides a digital version of its "Building A Sustainable Business" for farms and rural businesses for free. This downloadable 289-page pdf guides you through marketing, operations, human resources and financing with worksheets and examples in order to develop a lender-ready business plan.
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  • Guides & Templates for Beginning Farmers
    National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) library of business plan templates, checklists, accounting how-to and more -- most are available as free downloads. Resources for sustainable and organic methods + marketing and city farming resources too.
  • **NEW** USDA's Website for New Farmers
    The USDA's one-stop resource for its programs and services for how to start farming and to support beginning farmers including education technical assistance, financing opportunities and more.

Mavenjoy Extra: Check out the Female Farmer Project showcasing the changing face of America's farmers. According to the USDA, 1 in 3 farmers are women in the US, yet women only control 7% of farmland in the US. Related: Opportunities for Women Farmers

  • Farm Business Planning Resources & Templates
    Georgia Organics' collection of farm business planning resources includes free access to business plan and budget templates, assessment tools and sample proposals. Also addresses topics regarding pricing, sales tax, insurance, labor and leasing land.
    Mavenjoy Best Practice Pick: Georgia Organics Mentoring Program pairs newer farmers and ranchers transitioning to organic production systems with experienced farmer mentors for up to 25 hours of mentor support, travel stipend, and scholarships to their annual conference and workshops throughout the year. Mentees also receive direct support from Georgia Organics' Farmer Services Coordinator.

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  • **NEW** Farmer Training
    New Entry's Sustainable Farming Project (NESFP) assist new and prospective farmers learn what it takes to operate your own farm -- from the basics to a comprehensive incubator program. 
  • InVenture, formerly AICC Business Planner
    Purdue University's Agricultural Innovation and Commercialization Center (AICC) provides an interactive online business planner and tutorial to guide you in completing a fully customized business plan for your farm venture.
  • Farm Land Clearinghouse
    Seek, find and post available farmland in the Midwest. Submit a simple form and your information is posted and circulated via various farm related networks to match up those seeking farm land with those offering farm land.

Especially for Young Farmers...

  • National Young Farmers' Coalition (NYFC)
    NYFC is a network of young, sustainable farmers that have come together to support one another's success. News, policy, resources and forums -- all provided by and for new and beginning farmers in the United States.
  • Greenhorns
    A grassroots nonprofit with a mission to recruit, promote and support a new generation of young farmers and a knack for drumming up the excitement and empowerment for doing it. Podcasts, a library full of free publications and guides, and the lively Farm Hack forum, a farmer-fueled online community.
  • **NEW LISTING** Virtual Grange
    An online hub of information and resources geared towards beginning farmers hosted by Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.

Farm Grants, Loans & Funding for Startups

  • Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loans
    The USDA and FSA's program to provide loans and loan guarantees to beginning farmers and ranchers who are unable to obtaining financing from commercial lenders.
  •  Microloans for Farmers
    Start-up and operating loans for beginning, niche, family and small farms via a simplified application process. Loan Maximum: $35,000.

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  • Young & Beginning Program
    Farm Credit Services of America offers farm loans for producers age 35 or younger, or with 10 years experience or less + livestock loans for youth too.
  • Aggie Bond Beginning Farmer Loan Programs
    A federal-state partnership that allows private lenders to receive federal and/or state tax-exempt interest on loans made to beginning farmers. The savings is passed on to farmers via loans with below market interest rates. Generally, interest rates to eligible first time farmers may average 1-3 percent lower than commercial farm loan rates. Currently over 15 states have active aggie bond programs.

  • Farm Incubators
    A number of farm incubator opportunities and resources are emerging to encourage new farmers, preserve farm land and promote sustainable food systems. Farm incubator programs may provide access to land, equipment and training. 
    Mavenjoy Best Practice Pick Viva Farms is a farm incubator that helps new farmers get started with land, equipment, education, training and technical assistance (bilingual-Eng/Esp), marketing and start-up loans.
  • **MORE** Farming Grants, Loans & Funding
    Our best picks for financing and funding your farm and other agricultural initiatives from both private and public sources.

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Share Additional Resources for Beginning Farmers

Have we missed a good one? Or maybe you offer or have heard about a great new tip or resource for how to start farming? If so, please add it below to our growing list.


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