Starting a farm can be the beginning of a career in the agricultural industry. Unfortunately, the necessary initial costs can be a bit high. In addition to other costs, it is necessary to buy land, seeds, equipment and hire labor to help you with the final harvest. However, there is a way to obtain scholarships that cover part or all of the cost of your new farm. Grants are better than loans for a very important reason: you don’t have to pay them.
Decide what type of farm you would like to start and think about how you will operate it. When you start looking for grants, you will find that there are many scholarships aimed at certain types of farms. For example, there are subsidies for farms that offer programs to educate the public about nature and how food arrives from the farm to the plate.
Create a business plan for your farm. Many grant agencies require you to submit a document with your application. Beginning Farmers, a website for farmers and relevant government agencies, advises including specific information about your estimated costs and income. In addition, you must describe how your farm will operate and include a list of how many people you are going to employ and what their functions will be, in addition to the estimated wages.
Search the list of recently opened grants from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to find sources of funding that may be available to you. Each list of grants provides an approximate amount for each grant and describes the type of farmers for whom the money goes. The USDA Rural Information Center provides links to other state and federal programs for which you may be eligible.
Make your grant application, being careful to include all the information requested by the entity to which you are requesting it. For example, the 1% grant from Simply Organic seeks candidates who are interested in farms and projects related to organic farming. The American Sheep and Goat Center notes that the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center recommends creating a proposal that is divided into sections that contain vital information. Define your project by listing your goals, including an executive summary in which you briefly but strongly indicate why you should receive the funds. Your proposal should include a description of your project, a list of your partners, a future timeline for your farm and a budget where costs are estimated in the short and long term.
Submit your grant application and get ready to submit additional grant applications. If you spend the first grant funds you receive wisely and document what you do you can open additional opportunities in the future. Therefore, you should keep your financial account spreadsheets up to date and gather evidence that the grant money you received will help you achieve the results you wanted.
You may want to hire a professional grant writer to help you create the best possible application. You can also know about scholarship opportunities and other ways to get the funds you need.