The 2014 Farm Bill offers a variety of technical and financial assistance programs for producers. The following is a list of programs, grants and loan opportunities, along with resources to help you find more detailed information.
Helps private landowners, land trusts, and other entities to preserve, restore, and enhance wetlands, grasslands, and working farms and ranches through conservation easements.
Research program funding government researchers at multiple locations throughout the country using interdisciplinary research to address issues that are relevant to sustainable and organic farmers.
Promotes renewable energy production by providing incentives to help farmers grow bioenergy feedstocks (crops that are well-suited to be turned into energy) and connect with relevant energy facility.
Provides federal loan guarantees to support and establish enterprises that process, distribute, aggregate, store, or market foods produced in-state or transported no more than 400 miles from the origin of the product.
Offers competitive grants to support projects by groups and producers (including on-farm research and demonstrations) to develop and improve access to innovative resource conservation solutions for farmers and ranchers nationwide.
Offers federal guarantees on private loans to help farmers and ranchers implement qualified conservation practices on their farm, with a priority for beginning farmers.
Protects soil, water quality, and habitat by removing highly-erodible or environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production through long-term rental agreements.
Encourages landowners to sell or lease long-term to beginning or socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers willing to implement sustainable practices or transition to organic production by providing two years of additional payments for expiring CRP-enrolled land.
Also see NSAC’s program description
Rewards advanced conservation systems through 5-year renewable payment contracts to farmers and ranchers to actively manage, maintain, and expand conservation practices like rotations, cover cropping, rotational grazing, and IPM on working farms. Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance—the higher the performance, the higher the payment.
DIRECT provides government loans to allow family farmers, including beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, purchase farmland, equipment, and other start-up and production necessities. GUARANTEE provides a government guarantee on commercial loans to family farmers, including beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, for real estate costs or farm operating expenses.
Provides a low-interest government loan, made in conjunction with a private bank loan and a borrower down payment, to help beginning, minority, and women farmers purchase a farm or ranch.
See also NSAC’s program description
EQIP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to plan and implement conservation practices that improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related natural resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. EQIP may also help producers meet Federal, State, Tribal, and local environmental regulations.
Provides low-interest loans (up to $500,000) for construction of commodity storage facilities, including fruit and vegetable cold storage, as well as buildings and fixed equipment for washing, handling, and packing.
Voluntary, user fee-funded, independent food safety audits for produce that allow producers, handlers, and distributors to sell to buyers (retail, institutional, and food service) requiring food safety certification.
Reduces risk for retiring farmers who sell land via a mulit-year land contract to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers by providing a federal guarantee in case the buyer encounters problems making payments.
Provides small farm loans (up to $50,000) for annual operating expenses tailored for small, young, beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and diversified farming operations serving local markets.
Provides cost-share assistance to help farmers with annual organic certification costs; covers up to 75 percent of annual certification costs with maximum payments of $750 per year per farm.
Provides free technical assistance and educational materials for farmers through the ATTRA website and toll-free hotline on a variety of sustainable and organic production topics.
Highlights special crop insurance provisions for organic producers, including organic price elections, contract price addendums, and Whole Farm Revenue Protection.
Enables farmers and businesses to purchase renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements, and undertake energy audits through grants and/or loans.
Funds sustainable agriculture research through grants for research and education, farmer and rancher field projects, and extension and professional development via four regional administrative structures.
Awards planning and working capital competitive grants to farmers to develop value-added farmer-owned businesses, including processing, market differentiation, and local and regional supply networks.
Offers revenue insurance to protect against low yields and price drops for all crops or livestock grown or raised on a single farm, providing a risk management option for highly diversified as well as organic farms.