Please note that the Grassroots Guide has not yet been updated to reflect changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill, which was passed and signed into law in December 2018. We are in the process of updating the Guide and expect to publish an updated version in the spring of 2019. In the meantime, please use this guide for basic information about programs and important resources and links for more information, but check with USDA for any relevant program changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill. Also, check out our blog series covering highlights from the new farm bill.
Farming is a business, and just like any business, farmers need access to financial resources – capital – to grow and build their businesses. Farmers also need an adequate and fair farm safety net to protect against the inherent risks of farming, no matter if they are growing thousands of acres of corn, a few dozen vegetable crops for their local CSA, or mixed grains and livestock on a diversified farm.
Our nation’s credit and crop insurance programs should work for all farmers and ranchers including beginning famers, organic farmers, and operators of small and mid-sized farms and of highly diversified farms.
Federal policy has historically protected and supported certain kinds of farming – and certain kinds of farmers – very well with commodity subsidy programs and subsidized crop insurance for the most widely grown crops. With help from NSAC, Congress continues to make investments in expanding access to capital and the farm safety net to those who have been less well served by traditional farm programs.
This section of our guide provides an overview of the key federal programs focused on opening up capital and safety net access to a wider range of farmers, including sustainable and organic farms, diversified farms, beginning and underserved farmers (including military veterans, women, legal immigrants, and farmers of color), and more. It includes programs directly available to producers as well as programs available to community-based organizations and institutions working on the ground to help farmers access capital and manage risk.