The government is giving away free land and farming equipment. Sort of. If you are eagerly awaiting the day that you can buy your dream land and build a prepper retreat or start homesteading, there are ways to accomplish the self-reliance goal without getting a loan.
Even in our modern technology-addicted era, the powers that be do appear to still respect the importance of farming and homesteading in America. Nearly half of the farmers in the United States are age 55 or over. Family farms have been disappearing at an alarming rate for at least the past five years. Who will soon be left to grow our food? How stable is the food supply? Both are excellent and disturbing questions.
Preppers and homesteaders are keenly focused on self-reliance and growing/raising their own food. Having the available funds to purchase land or to improve existing land is a problem encountered by many rural preppers and non-preppers alike. Grants to buy farmland, improve the land, develop an agricultural business, build structures, and purchase livestock are readily available, if you know where to look.
The politicians may not have envisioned that 5 million or more preppers in America would seek to take advantage of the free land and farming equipment programs in an effort to ensure their survival during a SHTF situation. However, there is nothing in regulations that prohibits prepping families from taking advantage of the bountiful offers.
Each government grant or low-interest and low-money-down loan carries specific requirements. The USDA website defines “agricultural business” very loosely. Showing a profit is not necessarily required. Preppers could enhance their own food growing and harvesting efforts through the grant and loan programs by jumping through relatively few hoops.
Establishing an official business name and acquiring limited liability company status (an investment of about $200) could open the door to previously unimaginable grant and loan opportunities that allow you to make some extra cash. Think a roadside stand or monthly farmers markets. Yep, just nailing together some 2x4s and making a roadside stand takes you from hobby farmer to professional farmer in the eyes of the federal government.
Some of the grant may require that you work or volunteer on a farm, ranch, or in some type of agricultural setting for a short period of time before applying for funding. Some of the loan programs have a job creation component attached, making them a great way to utilize extended family and mutual assistance group members in the project. Preppers are by and large a patient lot, who do not shy away from the planning and training required to accomplish a task. Do not let any feasible requirements for grant and loan approval deter you from applying for funds to help establish or enhance your homestead. Remember, he (or she) who controls the food controls the world. Take the cultivation of the food you consume into your own hands now, before it’s too late.
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program – This USDA farming grant is geared to help a new generation of farmers purchase land and equipment to foster the agriculture business in the United States. Applicants must be involved in a co-op or a college extension group in order to apply for the funding.
Start2Farm – is a series of grant programs also designed to help folks new to farming. The USDA distributes the funds for the Beginning Farming and Ranching Development Program grant. Individuals with less than 10 years of farming experience qualify for grant consideration.
Organic Farming Research Foundation Grants – Americans eager to grow organic produce are eligible to apply for the grant funding.
Western SARE Farmer/Rancher Grants – These $20,000 grants can be awarded to farmers seeking to improve the environmental impact of their agricultural efforts and to individuals who want to experiment with ways to improve farming operations in general.
Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Board Service Provider – Grants up to $550,000 are available to provide funds to persons in Vermont seeking to boost local agricultural production. The money can be used to enhance existing farm structures or to improve or purchase new equipment for development.
USDA Rural Development – Through a partnership with rural communities across the United States, the program offers money to fund projects that increase rural business development and create cooperatives to offer quality jobs in rural areas.
Agricultural Reinvestment Fund – Landowners in North Carolina can apply for $8,000 grants for agricultural investment.
RCPP Rice Stewardship Partnership Project – The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service grants are awarded to Louisiana farmers willing to produce rice who focus on conserving water and waterfowl habitats while doing so.
New York State New Farmer’s Grant – Beginning farmers who have a plot smaller than 150 acres in New York are eligible to apply for this funding opportunity. Novice farmers must have less than a decade of farming experience and earn at least $10,000 a year selling their harvest.
Missouri Beef Grants – Ranchers can apply for $20,000 grants for use in modernizing and increasing their agricultural business.
Minnesota Livestock Investment Grant – Ranchers who can invest a minimum of $4,000 when improving existing structures or buying new equipment are eligible for a 10 percent reimbursement through this program.
Farmers Market Promotion – The Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) was created to offer an affordable avenue that would lead to an increase in “domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets.” Funds can be used to provide training, to expand or improve farms, to create a roadside farm stand, to start agri-tourism activities, or a host of other related farm-to-table opportunities in the community.
Farming Low Interest Loans
Minority and Women Farmers and Ranchers – The USDA sets aside a portion of taxpayer-provided funding to offer low-interest loans to women and minority farmers. The program, known as the Socially Disadvantaged Applicants (SDA) allows applicants who are women, African-Americans, Alaskan Natives, American Indians, Hispanics, Asians, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Even if the land you live on is owned by both a husband and wife, the for-profit farm to be established on the property could be created in just the wife’s name. The USDA website does not state whether or not a farm jointly owned by a woman and her husband is a disqualifying factor.
USDA Farm Service Agency Operating Loan Program – The USDA microloan program features a fairly simple application process and offers loans up to $35,000 to help cover farming startup expenses, livestock purchases, seed, farm vehicles, fertilizer, livestock, seasonal equipment and a host of other related agricultural business needs. The farm business requirements can be met by selling the harvest and livestock at a farmers market, local auction, or via a community-supported agriculture event.
Center for Rural Affairs – The agriculture group offers low-interest loans to farmers of all ages and experience levels in Nebraska.