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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Resources

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Grants

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) works to improve domestic and international opportunities for U.S. growers and producers. AMS grant programs support a variety of agricultural activities, including the specialty crop industry and local and regional food system expansion. Grant programs include, but are not limited to, the following:

USDA Community Food Projects (CFP) Competitive Grants Program

The CFP Competitive Grants Program awards funds to public food program service providers, tribal organizations, or private nonprofit entities, including gleaners. The primary goals of the CFP are to (1) meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution, community outreach to assist in participation in Federally assisted nutrition programs, or improving access to food as part of a comprehensive service; (2) increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for the food needs of the communities; (3) promote comprehensive responses to local food access, farm, and nutrition issues; and (4) meet specific state, local or neighborhood food and agricultural needs.

USDA provides farmers, ranchers, private foresters, and agricultural producers with online self-service applications, educational materials, engagement opportunities, and business tools to increase efficiency and productivity while preserving and fostering long-held traditional relationships between local USDA offices and producers.

USDA Farm Service Agency

The Farm Service Agency serves farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

NRCS Provides farmers, ranchers and foresters with financial assistance and technical advice to improve production, reduce input costs and conserve natural resources through the Environmental Quality Incentives ProgramConservation Stewardship Program, and Agricultural Management Assistance Program.

USDA New Farmers

Access the support and resources you need to begin farming, including opportunities for women to grow, learn from one another, and lead within their industries; for veterans looking to start farming; and for youth to discover new innovation at work in agriculture, support ag in schools, and get connected. Personalize your search with the Discovery Tool

USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coordinators

New to farming or ranching? USDA can help you get started or grow your farm operation through programs and services including loans, crop insurance, conservation programs, and disaster assistance. Contact your state Beginning Farmers and Rancher Coordinator to learn more.

USDA Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE)

SARE offers competitive grants to projects that explore and address key issues affecting the sustainability and future economic viability of agriculture.

USDA Outreach & Assistance For Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers

The Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Grant Program (also known as the “2501 Program”) funds projects that increase the equitable participation of socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers in USDA programs and assists in owning and operating profitable farms and ranches through agricultural programs and services provided by USDA.

USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA)

RMA serves agricultural producers through effective, market-based risk management tools, including Federal crop insurance and risk management education programs.

USDA Rural Development

Rural Development offers loans, grants and loan guarantees to support essential services and offers technical assistance and information to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their operations. Programs include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Rural Business Development Grants, a competitive program designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues.
  • The Rural Energy for America Program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements
  • Value Added Producer Grants help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based, value-added products.
USDA Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources

Small and midsize producers provide new opportunities for American agriculture across the country. This page provides small and midsize producers valuable resources and program information about access to capital, land management and conservation practices, managing risk, finding local markets, and other educational resources.

A listing on this page does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.