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More women are entering farming than ever, so it would seem that getting farm loans or other business loans would be easy for them. Although there has been an increase in female farmers, it is still difficult to find grants for farmers. Finding the right farm grant for a female farmer can be difficult, as more women farmers are looking for funding to expand their farms or sustain their operations.
There are still farm grants available for women farmers. This guide will discuss seven farm grants available to women and what to expect when applying.
Grant and Financing Resources for Women Farmers
Although farm grants for women farmers may be rare, they exist. Below are both local and federal grants and financing resources specifically for women. We also have other options for all farmers. Many farming grants are available to farmers who are interested in or already practicing sustainable agriculture. This is something you might want to remember as you read this list.
Also, read Louisiana Grants For Small Business
We recommend that you join organizations that help women farmers, such as the American Agri-Women or the National Women in Agriculture Association, if you have difficulty finding grants. These organizations are great because they not only provide educational and networking opportunities but can also connect you with financial resources.
1. United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not grant any grants to farmers. However, minority farmers and women are eligible for funding through the Socially Disabled Applicant (SDA). SDA funding is available to those who provide information about their ethnicity, race, gender, and marital status on loan applications.
The USDA offers another loan type for women farmers who need financial assistance to purchase a farm. It is the Direct Farmers Ownership Down Payment Loan. The USDA will finance up to 45% of the maximum loan amount, and female farmers will only need to pay 5% of the farm purchase price.
USDA’s Office of Rural Development also offers Value Added Producer Grants. These grants are available to farmers who want to contribute to the creation of new products or expand their marketing opportunities. These grants are given priority to beginners and those who are socially disadvantaged. Grant recipients may receive grants up to $75,000 if applying for the Planning Grant and up to $250,000 if applying for the Working Capital Grants. Before applying for the Value Added Producer grant, it is a good idea to speak with one of the USDA’s Business Programs specialists before you begin filling out the forms.
2. Program for Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fields
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture offers a cost-share grant program of up to $300,000 for women and minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. This grant supports research that will increase small-scale farm economic viability and healthy food consumption. In order to increase diversity in the workforce of agricultural scientists, educators and researchers, this grant program encourages women and underrepresented minority participation in rural areas. You must apply for WAMS through Grants.gov.
3. Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture may offer the Mayer Boyer Sustainable Agriculture and Food Grant to female farmers in certain North Carolina counties. The grant is open to women farmers and ranchers from the following counties:
This grant is intended to support female farmers in overcoming marketing and production barriers. Two grant recipients will each receive $2,000; interested applicants should submit an application detailing how they will use the funds to grow their farm businesses.
Also, read 7 Best Small Business Grants Alabama
4. SARE Grants
SARE Grant Program: Up to $250,000 for grants to support research that advances sustainable agriculture. The availability of grants varies by region. You may also find other grant programs, such as the Rancher Grant. This program is only available to North Central SARE. It awards $9,000 to $27,000 to farmers interested in sustainable farming solutions. The grants can’t be used to establish a farm, but they can be used for market, crop rotations and pest management. You must first contact the SARE office in your area and then submit an online grant application.
5. Young Farmer Grant Program
The National Young Farmers Coalition’s Young Farmer Grant Program is for young female farmers who want to start or grow a farm. This grant program provides $5,000 for 50 new or aspiring farmers to help support the next generation. The grants will go to at least 50% female-identifying, nonbinary, or trans farmers. The guidelines state that grant recipients may use the grant to buy new equipment, pay operational costs or hire labour.
The Young Farmer Grant is only available to applicants who are the owners of their farm/business, are under 40, and have sustainable farming practices. A detailed application explaining how the grant will help you sustain your operation must be submitted.
6. FACT Fund-a Farmer Grant
Food Animal Concerns Trust has awarded nearly half a million dollars in grants since 2012 to individual or family farmers who have contributed to projects that improve animal welfare via its Funda-Farmer Grant program. Each grant recipient will be awarded $2,500. There are three types of grants available:
- Animal Welfare Certification Grant The Animal Welfare Certification Grant is designed to assist farmers in obtaining one of the following certifications: Certified Humane (CH), Animal Welfare Approved(AWA), or Global Animal Partnership.
- Capacity Building Grant: This grant is for farmers who are already AWA, CH or GAP certified and need funding to market their products or expand their operations.
- Pasture Improvement Grant This grant is for farmers who want to improve their pasture quality or access their animals to pasture.
Each grant has its eligibility requirements, but they all require that farmers are actively involved in the farm’s daily operation and its animals. Online applications are required to provide information about the applicant’s farm, budget, and project. The applicant may need to upload photos of their farm and animals.
7. Vermont Farm Women’s Fund
The Vermont Farm Women’s Fund aims to help women farmers start their own farming businesses. Women farmers interested in further education or farm training can apply for scholarships. These scholarships can be used for educational conferences, courses, or classes. The scholarship amount is limited to $150, or 75% of conference or course fees. Online applications are required for all interested applicants. It asks for basic information and questions about the applicant’s farming experience and financial and educational goals.
Also, read Best California Small Business Grants 2022
8. FruitGuys Community Fund
Another grant option for female farmers is The FruitGuys Community Fund. The nonprofit organization grants $2,000 to $5,000 to small farms and agricultural nonprofits who need funding to help them with projects that will make their farms more sustainable. Preference is given to water conservation, natural pest control, and energy efficiency projects.
The farm owner should be interested in applying. They must also commit to community outreach. The farm should be classified as small- or medium-sized. You must submit a letter stating your intention to apply before the deadline.
The bottom line
We’ve already mentioned that finding grants for women farmers is difficult. However, we want to point out that there are many scholarships for female farmers who want to learn how to grow their farms. Women in Agriculture provides a $2,500 scholarship to women farmers who are interested in learning how to grow their farm business. We also offer guides for women business owners, which could be useful in your farming venture.
Also, we want to point out that although there are not many farm grants available for women, there is plenty of general grant opportunities. You will find that you have the best chance of getting a farm grant locally. Grants are extremely competitive, so it will work in your favor if you first look at local private organizations and then go to federal programs.