Financing Resources

Finding financing for a small farm is one of the most challenging obstacles for agricultural entrepreneurs. The following resources include traditional and creative ways to finance your farm, as well as pointers for preparing a successful loan application.

Government and Bank Loans for Farms

Farm Service Agency (FSA) — The US Farm Service Agency makes many types of direct and guaranteed farm-ownership and operating loans to family-size farmers and ranchers. (read more)

FSA Microloans — ‘Microloans’ of up to 50,000 for operating costs are now available (read more)

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Loans – Many FSA loan programs have funds set aside specifically to help beginning farmers and ranchers, which means those who have owned or operated a farm or ranch for fewer than 10 years, or that own and operate a small farm or ranch that is less than 30% of median county farm size for the county they are located in. (link)

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans and Grants — For assistance in the purchase and installation of on-farm and rural renewable energy generating systems or energy efficiency improvements. (link)

AgWest Farm Credit — Agwest Farm Credit specializes in loans to farmers and ranchers for farm ownership and operating costs. (read more)

Community Banks and Credit Unions – A number of smaller community banks and credit unions make loans for farms and farming operations and serve particular regions. (read more)

Oregon ‘Aggie Bonds’ Beginning and Expanding Farmer Loan Program – This program is an interest rate reduction program for beginning farmers that can provide significantly lower interest rates on farm and equipment ownership loans. Administered by Business Oregon, a state agency, involvement from a participating lender, like AgWest Farm Credit or another bank, is required. (link)

In addition to the Aggie Bonds program, Business Oregon administers a number of other loan program for small business that food and agricultural entrepreneurs might be able to use (read more)

Non-Traditional Financing and Loans

A number of non-traditional financing options for farm and food businesses exist. Here are a few that might provide opportunities for Oregon farmers:

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) – IDAs are matched savings accounts available for lower income individuals and small business owners to assist with equipment purchases, working capital and more. (read more)

Pacific Northwest lenders – Mercy Corps Northwest, Craft3, and Community Lending Works provide loans to small businesses in Oregon and surrounding areas. (read more)

Peer to Peer lenders connect borrowers directly with private individuals or public groups outside of traditional financing organizations. There are several peer to peer lending groups operating in Oregon. (read more)

Agriculture-sector specific lenders are more likely to understand nuances of farm business practices. Read more to learn about five lenders offering loans to finance land and equipment purchases. (read more)

Lenders specializing in providing loans for minorities and other historically underserved individuals. (read more)

Mission aligned lenders can provide loans to nonprofits and for-profits with a commitment to creating long-term beneficial change. (read more)

Other Resources

Oregon State University’s Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management online course is aimed at those in their first five years of farming and can help with everything from business planning to farm management (link)

Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) provides grants in several categories. Each of these grants is available at specific times of the year (link)

The book Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses provides a wealth of information for small farm business planning (link)

NW Farm Credit Services 2014 presentation at the OSU Small Farms Conference on how farm lending works and how to use their programs: OR-Small-Farms-Conference-2014 (link)

Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers (2011)- ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture publication (link)

Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm — a resource from the University of Vermont’s New Farmer Project on innovative small farm financing strategies (link)

Small Farm Funding Resources from the USDA’s National Agricultural Library (link)

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) across Oregon can help with business planning, counseling and help connect you to resources. Find your local office through the Oregon SBDC Network (link)

Friends of Family Farmers provides these resources solely for educational purposes. Friends of Family Farmers neither favors nor endorses any of the organizations listed on this website, nor are they responsible for any incorrect information that is listed on the hyperlinked external sites.

Resource Categories

Search Resource Library