Farm Bill Programs & Grants – Overview


The charts below provide a quick guide to federal farm and food-related programs and grants, organized by issue and by who is eligible to apply or sign up. 

Important announcements like application announcements (RFAs) and deadlines are also announced in our blog and sent out in the NSAC Weekly Roundup! Sign up to receive regular NSAC updates and be sure you never miss the news!

Full Program Title Description Eligibility: Farmers (F) or Organizations (O)
Beginning & Socially Disadvantaged Farmers & Ranchers
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Strengthens beginning farmers’ technical and business skills by funding training projects for beginning farmers led by non-profit organizations, academic institutions, extension services, and producer groups. O
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Individual Development Account Funds local organizations to help beginning farmers and ranchers finance their agricultural endeavors through business education and matched savings accounts. O
Conservation Reserve Program – Transition Incentives Program Encourages landowners to sell or lease long-term to beginning or socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers willing to implement sustainable practices or transition to organic production by providing two years of additional payments for expiring CRP-enrolled land. F
Direct and Guaranteed Farm Loans DIRECT Provides govnerment loans to allow family farmers, including beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, purchase farmland, equipment, and other start-up and production necessities. GUARANTEE Provides a government guarantee on commercial loans to family farmers, including beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, for real estate costs or farm operating expenses. F
Down Payment Loans Provides a low-interest government loan, made in conjunction with a private bank loan and a borrower down payment, to help beginning, minority, and women farmers purchase a farm or ranch. F
Land Contract Guarantee Reduces risk for retiring farmers who sell land via a mulit-year land contract to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers by providing a federal guarantee in case the buyer encounters problems making payments. F
Microloans Provides small farm loans (up to $50,000) for annual operating expenses tailered for small, young, beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and diversified farming operations serving local markets. F
Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (Sec. 2501) Provides outreach and technical assistance to increase participation of minority and historically underserved producers in USDA programs through competitive grants made to academic institutions and non-profit and tribal organizations. O
Conservation & Environment
Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Helps private landowners, land trusts, and other entities to preserve, restore, and enhance wetlands, grasslands, and working farms and ranches through conservation easements. F,O
Conservation Innovation Grants Offers competitive grants to support projects by groups and producers (including on-farm research and demonstrations) to develop and improve access to innovative resource conservation solutions for farmers and ranchers nationwide. F,O
Conservation Loans Offers federal guarantees on private loans to help farmers and ranchers implement qualified conservation practices on their farm, with a priority for beginning farmers. F
Conservation Reserve Program Protects soil, water quality, and habitat by removing highly-erodible or environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production through long-term rental agreements. F
Conservation Reserve Program – Transition Incentives Program Encourages landowners to sell or lease long-term to beginning or socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers willing to implement sustainable practices or transition to organic production by providing two years of additional payments for expiring CRP-enrolled land. F
Conservation Stewardship Program Rewards advanced conservation systems through 5-year renewable payment contracts to farmers and ranchers to actively manage, maintain, and expand conservation practices like rotations, cover cropping, rotational grazing, and IPM on working farms. F
Environmental Quality Incentives Program Supports working lands conservation through cost-share and technical assistance payments to farmers and ranchers; includes Organic Initiative to support organic practice adoption, High Tunnel Initiative for vegetable production, and multiple regional landscape scale initiatives. F
Regional Conservation Partnership Program Enables state and local agencies, non-profit organizations, and other entities to partner regionally with the Natural Resources Conservation Service on special projects to promote farmer adoption of conservation activities to address key natural resource concerns. O
Credit & Crop Insurance
Conservation Loans Offers federal guarantees on private loans to help farmers and ranchers implement qualified conservation practices on their farm, with a prioirty for beginning farmers. F
Direct and Guaranteed Farm Loans DIRECT Provides govnerment loans to allow family farmers, including beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, purchase farmland, equipment, and other start-up and production necessities. GUARANTEE Provides a government guarantee on commercial loans to family farmers, including beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, for real estate costs or farm operating expenses. F
Down Payment Loans Provides a low-interest government loan, made in conjunction with a private bank loan and a borrower down payment, to help beginning, minority, and women farmers purchase a farm or ranch. F
Farm Storage Facility Loans Provides low-interest loans (up to $500,000) for construction of commodity storage facilities, including fruit and vegetable cold storage, as well as buildings and fixed equipment for washing, handling, and packing. F
Microloans Provides small farm loans (up to $50,000) for annual operating expenses tailered for small, young, beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and diversified farming operations serving local markets. F
Organic Crop Insurance Highlights special crop insurance provisions for organic producers, including organic price elections, contract price adendums, and Whole Farm Revenue Protection. F
Risk Management Education Program Provides funding to public and non-profit organizations to help farmers acquire the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make informed risk management decisions on their farms. O
Risk Management Partnership Agreements Funds partnerships of public, private, and nonprofit organizations to educate farmers on a wide array of risk management options; includes a Targeted States program to reach farmers in states historically underserved by the crop insurance program. O
Whole Farm Revenue Protection for Diversified Farms Offers revenue insurance to protect against low yields and price drops for all crops or livestock grown or raised on a single farm, providing a risk management option for highly diversified as well as organic farms. F
Food Safety
Food Safety Training Program Provides farmers with training on food safety requirements through competitive grants to non-profit organizations and academic institutions to organize and run the trainings. O
Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices Audit Verification Program Voluntary, user fee-funded, independent food safety audits for produce that allow producers, handlers, and distributors to sell to buyers (retail, institutional, and food service) requiring food safety certification. F
Local & Regional Food Systems
Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program’s Local and Regional Food Enterprise Provision Provides federal loan guarantees to support and establish enterprises that process, distribute, aggregate, store, or market foods produced in-state or transported no more than 400 miles from the origin of the product. F,O
Community Food Projects Promotes community-based solutions for self-sufficiency and food security through competitive grants to local projects. O
Farm Storage Facility Loans Provides low-interest loans (up to $500,000) for construction of commodity storage facilities, including fruit and vegetable cold storage, as well as buildings and fixed equipment for washing, handling, and packing. F
Farm to School Grants Supports the development of farm to school activities, such as school meals incorporating locally produced foods, school gardens, and programs teaching students about food, agriculture, and nutrition through competitive grants to farmers and public, private and non-profit entities. O
Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program Provides competitive grants to organizations to create and expand direct-to-consumer marketing strategies and enterprises that aggregate, store, process, or distribute locally or regionally produced food. O
Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program Funds research by state agencies and educational institutions that addresses good and agriculture marketing barriers, challenges, and opportunities. O
Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives Provides grants to agencies and non-profit organizations to help low-income consumers purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables through cash incentives at locations like farmers markets and grocery stores. O
Microloans Provides small farm loans (up to $50,000) for annual operating expenses tailered for small, young, beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and diversified farming operations serving local markets. F
Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Increases access to fresh produce for low-income seniors by providing coupons that can be exchanged for fruits, vegetables, and other approved foods from farmers markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs in participating states. O
Specialty Crop Block Grants Program Supports and enhances the competitiveness and consumption of fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops through projects such as value-added processing, food hub development, farmer food safety training, and farm-to-school initiatives led by state departments of agriulture. O
Value-Added Producer Grants Awards planning and working capital competitive grants to farmers to develop value-added farmer-owned businesses, including processing, market differentiation, and local and regional supply networks. F
WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program Enables pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women to purchase fresh, local produce from farmers markets using coupons or electronic benefits from authorized farmers and markets in participating states. O
Organic Production
National Organic Certification Cost Share Program Provides cost-share assistance to help farmers with annual organic certification costs; covers up to 75 percent of annual certification costs with maximum payments of $750 per year per farm. F
Organic Crop Insurance Highlights special crop insurance provisions for organic producers, including organic price elections, contract price adendums, and Whole Farm Revenue Protection. F
Organic Research and Extension Initiative Provides funding to public, private, and non-profit entities to conduct research, education, and extension that addresses critical challenges faced by organic farmers related to production, processing, marketing and conservation. O
Organic Transitions Program Provides funding to academic institutions to conduct research, education, and extension that address barriers to transitioning to organic production and environmental impacts of organic systems. O
Renewable Energy
Biomass Crop Assistance Program Promotes renewable energy production by providing incentives to help farmers grow bioenergy feedstocks
(crops that are well-suited to be turned into energy) and connect with relevant energy facility.
F
Rural Energy for America Program Enables farmers and businesses to purchase renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements, and undertake energy audits through grants and/or loans. F,O
Rural Development
Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program’s Local and Regional Food Enterprise Provision Provides federal loan guarantees to support and establish enterprises that process, distribute, aggregate, store, or market foods produced in-state or transported no more than 400 miles from the origin of the product. F,O
Rural Business Development Grant Provides funding to agencies and organizations for rural economic development projects including planning, technical assistance, job training, and acquisition of land, capital, equipment. O
Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program Fosters rural business development by providing loan capital and technical assistance for qualifying nonprofits, Indian tribes, and public higher education institutions to distribute microloans and business development assistance to rural microentrepreneurs. O
Value-Added Producer Grants Awards planning and working capital competitive grants to farmers to develop value-added farmer-owned businesses, including processing, market differentiation, and local and regional supply networks. F
Sustainable & Organic Research
Agricultural Systems Competitiveness and Sustainability Research program funding government researchers at multiple locations throughout the country using interdisciplinary research to address issues that are relevant to sustainable and organic farmers. F
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Provide grants to academic, private, and non-profit institutions to conduct agricultural research, education, and extension on issues facing the food and agricultural system including plant and animal health, food safety, climate change, food systems, and rural communities. O
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service/ATTRA Provides free technical assistance and educational materials for farmers through the ATTRA website and toll-free hotline on a variety of sustainable and organic production topics. F
Organic Research and Extension Initiative Provides funding to public, private, and non-profit entities to conduct research, education, and extension that addresses critical challenges faced by organic farmers related to production, processing, marketing and conservation. O
Organic Transitions Program Provides funding to academic institutions to conduct research, education, and extension that address barriers to transitioning to organic production and environmental impacts of organic systems. O
Specialty Crop Research Initiative Provides funding to public, private, and non-profit organizations to conduct research that aims to improve the viability and sustainability of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and other specialty crops. O
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Funds sustainable agriculture research through grants for research and education, farmer and rancher field projects, and extension and professional development via four regional administrative structures. F,O