Get started with sustainable living by getting the best loans and grants to start improving your homestead.
In this article:
- Loan Opportunities to Expand Your Farm Business
- Qualification for Loans and Grants
- Top 10 Best Grants and Zero or Low Money Down Loans for Homesteading
Loans and Grants for the Self-Reliant
Loan Opportunities to Expand Your Farm Business
You know you want to start a sustainable homestead or farm on a prepper retreat. You may have even found the perfect land at the right price.
The problem is you just don’t have enough money on hand to move forward with a loan or expand your existing farm.
Luckily for us, there is a plethora of easy grants to get and low money down agriculture loans. Grants and program participation payments also exist once you actually get your land.
It’s for the many practices you will be employing on your homestead anyway.
Agriculture grants are available to buy acreage for a homestead or prepper retreat. It also develops agriculture business on the property, improves the quality of the land, and purchase livestock.
You just have to know where to apply for grants to help get your self-reliant dream closer to becoming a reality.
Qualification for Loans and Grants
The United States Department of Agriculture is one of the main sources for very low or no money down residential loans and grants. They support farmland and agriculture businesses.
The federal government has a vague definition of what qualifies as a valid farm business. Anything which is grown, raised, or harvested from the wild qualifies.
Unlike several years ago, the agriculture business for a small business commercial grant doesn’t have to show a profit. It only requires the presentation of goods for sale and an attempt to make money from the endeavor.
Basically, setting up an “Eggs For Sale” or “Horse Boarding” sign at the end of the road or online qualifies. Some land grants are specific to the state or county.
Another funding aide gears to help female farmers, beginning farmers (less than 10 years of agriculture experience), minority, or organic farmers. Some of the grants and loans have acreage minimums and maximums.
This requires you to read the full eligibility requirements before printing and filling out the grant application form online. Finding the right loan or a combination of funding source right for you might take a little digging, although self-reliant folks are no strangers to shoveling and doing the heavy lifting to get things done!
Top 10 Best Grants and Zero or Low Money Down Loans for Homesteading
1. Beginning Farms USDA Loan
The FSA reserves loan funds for under-represented groups (like Indigenous and Latino farmers) and beginning farmers. Information about Farm Loan Programs, including the E.Q.U.I.P program, can be found at https://t.co/8sdNU1junB. #FSA #USDA #NM #Farmers #NEW #Organic #Center pic.twitter.com/kktEf0ANXu
— Center of Southwest (@CenterSWCulture) July 5, 2018
The federal low money down with down payment assistance loan does not have any income restrictions. Beginning farmers and ranchers from anywhere in the country can apply for the annually allocated funds – in the tens of millions of dollars range.
The property cannot be more than a specified percentage of the average farm in your county. It shouldn’t also cost more than about $500,000.
You must not have owned or worked for pay on a farm for more than 10 verifiable years to qualify for this program.
2. USDA Rural Development
The Rural Development loans are a no or extremely low money down payment program offered around the country for agriculture land purchase. There are no income maximums, but the land purchase cannot total more than 20 acres.
The acreage limits can and have changed during the funding cycles.
3. Fannie Mae Home Ready
— YaidithGarcigaRE (@YaidithGRealtor) April 9, 2019
This loan does not have an acreage limit and allows the borrower to have a more than 45% DTI – debt to income ration. The HomeReady loan requires a 3% down payment and has very low interest rates.
They also permit the downpayment money to come from another government or non-profit program, a tax refund, or as a gift from someone not on the loan.
Non-borrower household members, adults who are related or unrelated to the borrower but live in the home or are a tenant on the property, regardless of their credit score, can be considered as an income-boosting factor during the loan approval process.
4. Farm Service Agency Operating Loan Program
The FSA low or no money down loan program offers up to $35,000 to farmers for necessary startup expenses. These expenses include the purchase of livestock, fertilizer, seeds, crop plants, fencing, and agricultural machinery.
5. National Sustainable Agriculture Commission
The organization offers down payment assistance to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The government program defines socially disadvantaged loan applicants as Native Americans, women, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Asian Americans, African Americans, Native Hawaiians, or any other Pacific Islander.
A minimum of three years of farming or comparable experience is one of the requirements for the down payment assistance. This can be used to cover the five percent down mandated by most government farm loans.
6. Minority and Women Farmers and Ranchers
— Kiva U.S. (@kiva_us) March 10, 2017
The USDA low or no money down program offers to fund for farmland purchase specifically to female and minority farmers. The applicants must still meet the 640 credit score required for all farm loans to qualify for the purchase and farm startup loan funds.
7. Agricultural Reinvestment Fund
North Carolina farmers can request the $8,000 grants to invest in agricultural enhancements of their existing operation annually.
8. Missouri Beef Grants
Farmers and ranchers in the state can apply for a $20,000 grant for enhancements to an existing agriculture endeavor. They can use the money to expand their business or to modernize an operation with new equipment.
9. Farmers Market Promotion
The program was launched to create an affordable route for farmers to market their goods and to support local and regional agricultural production. The money can be used to enhance existing or create new, farm products sales opportunities, for training, to build a roadside farm stand, to host farm events to showcase the goods and services on the homestead, and for agri-tourism events: community event, camping, trail riding, etc.
10. Organic Farming Research Foundation Grants
— Dr. Judy Riffle (@uscdrj1) November 16, 2016
These are small grants to aid organic farmers. They can use it to enhance their operations, land, barns, fencing, and other production-related needs.
It’s available to citizens in all 50 states regardless of the size of their homestead or their income.
Also, remember that in order to create a nest egg for you and your family, it’s a wise decision to start investing in your retirement with some passive investing options. These can help you become financially independent and enjoy your life off-grid over many many years.
Knowing your options is half the battle. Your next step should be researching which one will fit your needs.
As with everything, preparation is key. You wouldn’t want to start your application only to find out in the middle that you’re not qualified for it.
Find out what you’re getting into!
Ever applied for a loan or grant? Share your experiences and any advice you have in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.