You’ve learned how to farm, identified a market and estimated your costs and income. Now all you need is some money to get you started. Easier said than done, sometimes! If you are starting a conventional operation in a community where people know you and you have a good track record, finding financing through your local Farm Service Agency, Northwest Farm Credit Services or other ag lender might be on the easier side.
However, if you are starting an operation that’s a bit more unusual or you are new to an area and don’t have many character references that your lender would know about, finding financing might be a little tougher. If you find yourself in this situation, there are two keys to consider: be creative and get your numbers as solid as possible. Creativity is required to deal with any number of large and small problems on the farm, from pest management to soil building, and making sure your business is set up to succeed and thrive financially is just another challenge to be figured out. Read Module 6: Financing of Planning for On-Farm Success to learn about the wide array of ways you might be able to finance your farm and get creative.
Getting solid numbers will not only help your lender approve financing for you, it will help you sell your farm or ranch business more effectively. If you can walk into a lender’s office and say, “I want to do something that you’ve never heard of before, but I can clearly walk you through the product, our market, and our finances,” your chances will improve dramatically. Visit our section on financial management for more info on putting together your financials.
The Community Food & Agriculture Coalition can help in a variety of ways with:
- One-on-one business development assistance
- Crowdfunded Kiva loans with 0% interest and zero fees (up to $10,000)
- Specialty Crop mini-grants (up to $5,000) – more info coming soon!