To those veteran farmers out there looking to start or level-up your farming operation, here are 3 key farm funding tips.
Veterans are prioritized with some USDA funding
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) gives veteran farmers and ranchers special preference with the EQIP and CSP conservation grant programs. That means veterans have a good chance to receive funding, if you qualify. Not only that, but veterans can receive 50% of the EQIP and CSP funds up front. This is a big deal, as typically the grant is only awarded on a reimbursement basis.
There is one catch, however. You can’t actually qualify for these veteran benefits from the NRCS unless you retired from service within the past 10 years.
Veteran Farmer Fellowship Fund defrays farming costs by up to $5,000
Federal funding options aren’t the only ones available for veteran farmers. There are other funders out there beyond the USDA that may be able to support you. One example is the Veteran Farmer Fellowship Fund. Through the Fellowship Fund, veterans can receive up to $5,000 to pay vendors or contractors that are critical to their farm business.
The Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a loan program for farm purchases
Veteran farmers may apply for benefits from the VA that enable the purchase of a residential farm. This means that you could get a loan from the VA to purchase a farm, but only if you intend to live there full-time, too.
This is a great opportunity to get your farm started. However, there are two things to know. First, the loan will only cover residential costs. These exclude the:
- Nonresidential value of farm land in excess of the home site
- Barn, silo, or other outbuildings necessary to the operation of the farm, or
- Farm equipment or livestock
So while there aren’t any acreage restrictions or requirements, you won’t be able to use this funding to purchase purely agricultural land.
Second, you can use future projected farm income to qualify for the loan, but only if you can prove you have previous farm experience. Otherwise, you will have to have additional income as proof of your ability to repay the loan.
If you’d like to learn more about this program, we recommend getting in touch with your district’s VA. You can also shoot us an email at email@example.com to talk with our staff about this opportunity.
Happy Memorial Day!
We hope these tips are helpful to you. Thank you so much for your service, and enjoy the long weekend!