The What, Why, How & Wow of Organic & Small Scale Farming Resources

Farming Grants, Loans & Funding
for Organic & Small Scale Farmers

  • EQIP Organic Initiative
    Financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices and planning for organic producers or farmers transitioning to organic production. Program Maximum Award: $20,000/year.
  • Funds from Organic Valley Farmers Advocating for Organics
    Funds provided by Organic Valley's farmers to target critical issues facing the organic marketplace and agriculture. Individuals and organizations seeking funding for projects/programs committed to advancing organic education, organic farming, organic advocacy or product research may apply. Awards range from $5,000-$50,000. The deadline for full grant pre-proposals is September 1 each year. Its Small Grant Fund accepts requests under $5,000 from individuals and organizations and may be submitted at any time for review on a rolling basis, with decisions announced within eight weeks.
  • Fund-A-Farmer Food Animal Project
    Funding for family farmers transitioning to pasture-based systems, improving the marketing of their humane products, or enriching the conditions in which farm animals are raised. Project Maximum Award: up to $2,500 to at least 15 farmers. The application period opens in September. Applications are November 1 and grants awarded in March.
  • Organic Seed Quality or Crops Breeding Grants
    The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and Seed Matters (Clif Bar's organic seed initiative) have partnered to fund both research and education/outreach projects from organic farmers, educators, researchers, Extension personnel and others aimed at improving organic seed quality and crop breeding. Funding spurs innovation among farming stakeholders to increase both the resiliency and diversity of organic seed systems. 

Mavenjoy Best Practice Pick: BIG Market for Farm-to-Fork Growers: the Farm to Table Store is pioneering an online marketplace to connect farmers with institutions like hospitals, senior centers, preschools and universities through a centralized ordering system. A genuine win-win wholesale business model! 

  • Organic Certification Cost Share Program
    $13 million in Farm Bill funding is available for organic certification cost-share assistance, making certification more accessible than ever for small certified producers and handlers. The current organic certification cost share reimbursement, which is up to 75% of their costs.
  • USDA/FSA Farm Microloans
    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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Did you know that organic farming methods are more profitable than conventional methods?
Source: 
Iowa State University and Rodale Institute

  • Market Access Program (MAP)
    The Southern United States Trade Association's MAP provides reimbursements up to 50% of eligible international marketing and promotion expenses to small businesses seeking financial support to launch a new branded export effort that is at least 50% U.S. agricultural origin by weight. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-approved, first-served basis.

Farm Guides, Tools & Other Resources for Organic & Small Scale Farming

Farm Guides, Tools & Other Resources
for Organic & Small Scale Farming

  • Organic Certification
    The National Organic Program provides FAQ's for how to become a certified operation -- includes the who, what and how.
  • Organic Price Report
    The Organic Price Report is an online tool that helps determine what to charge for organics produce and grains by tracking selected prices from the fruit, vegetable, herbs and grain sectors and comparing organic prices to conventional prices in markets nationwide.

Mavenjoy Best Practice Pick: Community By Design is a small farm incubator promoting a local food culture and economy through small scale farming, land ownership, land stewardship, economics, and community.

  • Guides for Organic Operations
    An extensive list of guides provided by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) regarding current organic requirements, the certification process and production options from herbs and flowers to field crops and livestock. For beginning farmers and current organic producers seeking new management approaches.
  • **NEW LISTING** Farm Hack
    An online open-source community for sustainable agriculture innovation sharing tools, tips, events and conversation.

  • Free Crop Planning Software
    This free, open source cross-platform program helps small farmers plan and manage hundreds of plantings (for greenhouse and field!). Great for small scale farming and gardening. Kudos go to Maine's Fail Better Farm for creating the tool and USDA & SARE funding for making it a reality.

Mavenjoy Best Practice Pick: Appalachian Harvest Network, an entrepreneurial nonprofit out of Abingdon, Virginia, has assisted tobacco farmers transition to growing organic fruits and vegetables. The program provides these farmers with the capacity to sell to regional supermarkets and other buyers with both classroom and on-the-farm training and technical assistance. Happily they've encountered more demand for certified organic produce than they can fill and now welcome farmers and free range egg producers from all over the region to participate.

  • Direct Marketing Tool for Small Farmers
    A workbook created by Georgia Organics to help small farmers identify, evaluate and choose the direct marketing methods best for their farms and small scale farming enterprises.
  • How to Finance a Small Farm
    US Davis outlines considerations, documents and questions to prepare for and ask lenders about financing a small farm and/or small scale farming.
  • **MORE** Got CSA?
    Community Supported Agriculture is the mother lode of good food -- find one or start one where you live. 

  • **MORE** Farm Jobs & Careers
    Check out apprenticeships, internships, training and jobs in farming and sustainable agriculture

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Share Additional Resources for Small & Organic Farming

Have we missed a good one? Or maybe you've heard about a new farming grant or assistance for small scale farming or organic farmers? We'd love to learn about additional funding opportunities and resources, please add it below to our growing list.


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