U.S. Support for Young Farmers

A sampling of agencies, public and private

By Karl Wolfshohl

Start2Farm.Gov, a clearinghouse from the National Agricultural Library and American Farm Bureau Federation provides information for farmers and ranchers who have been in business less than 10 years. It’s intended as a source of information about programs and resources to start and succeed in farming. The organization’s second Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Conference will meet in conjunction with the national Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers annual Leadership Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, February 18-20, 2012. Start2Farm identifies 4 kinds of services available to beginning farmers: training, financing, technical assistance and networking.

• The Farm Credit System has various programs in financial management in the various regions it serves.

• The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers, TEPAP, has spawned peer groups that participants say are a great help in discussing opportunities and solutions.

• The National Council of State Agricultural Finance Programs includes a listing of tax-free “Aggie Bond” programs for beginning farmers in the various states.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) loan programs are targeted to beginning farmers with limited economic resources who are unlikely to obtain loans from other lenders. These include both direct and guaranteed operating loans and farm ownership loans. Search for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers loans.

Center for Rural Affairs’ Beginning Farmer Financing Programs discusses national and state sources of potential funding for young and beginning farmers, and many other issues facing rural America.

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