Children feeding cows
Farmers
We have resources for all farmers and ranchers including beginning, Latino, women, retiring, and more.

Farmers

Calling all beginning farmers and ranchers! America’s farmers and ranchers are aging, and it is prime time for a new generation. It can be hard for new farmers to get started, but there’s help. Check out our resources for ways to take advantage of exciting new opportunities.

Anyone with interest can become a new farmerthere is no age limit on pursuing an interest in farming or ranching. At the Center for Rural Affairs, we have resources to help new farmers become successful and profitable while they carry on the proud tradition of family farms and vibrant rural communities.

Learn more about opportunities and challenges for beginning farmers, including special programs for Latinosveterans and women getting started in farming. Keep reading below, then check out the rest of our beginning farmer pages.

Programs and resources for beginning farmers

Federal Programs for Beginning Farmers

USDA Resources

Farmers.gov is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s one-stop shop for beginning farmers and ranchers to access information about federal programs. Their resources include tips for working with the USDA, information on how to access land and capital, as well as contact information for local beginning farmer and rancher coordinators.

Conservation Funding with Incentives for Beginners

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

  • Administered by the USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Provides financial assistance to farmers and ranchers interested in implementing conservation on their land
  • Includes an organic initiative for organic or transitioning to organic farmers
  • Special funding pools for beginners and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers lessens competition for funds
  • Higher payment rates for beginners

Conservation Stewardship Program

  • Working lands conservation program administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Offers technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who already implement conservation practices on their land for maintaining high standards of environmental stewardship
  • Special funding pools for beginners, socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and organic or transitioning to organic producers

Rural Energy for America Program

  • Provides grants and guaranteed loans to help farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements

Resources

General information

  • International Farm Transition Network: A network that brings major linking programs together to support the next generation of farmers and ranchers.
  • Nebraska Land Link: A network for land seekers and landowners. When you apply, Nebraska Extension personnel will work to match your application with the most compatible counterpart. Nebraska Land Link is a project of Nebraska Extension's Farm and Ranch Succession and Transition program and Nebraska Women in Agriculture.

Business and financial support

Conservation, local food, and high value markets

Books, guides, and courses

  • Holistic Management: Resources (including free downloads) and courses to help farmers and ranchers manage land in an economically and environmentally sustainable way
  • Land Stewardship Project - Farm Beginnings: A range of opportunities to learn firsthand about low-cost, sustainable methods of farming; courses may be available in your area
  • New England Small Farm Institute Publications: Books and courses available for purchase on topics for small farmers, especially “Exploring the Small Farm Dream”
  • Northeast Beginning Farmers: Online courses and publications to help build new farm businesses, geared to the Northeast, especially New York State
  • Guide to Farming in NY: Series of continually updated fact sheets on topics small farmers deal with, not limited to NY; also links to other useful resources.
  • Tilling the Soil of Opportunity: The Cadillac of courses for farm entrepreneurship, a 10+ week course that goes in depth about financial planning and marketing, primarily for an add-on farm enterprise
  • Integrated Farm and Resource Management (IFARM) Plan: Comprehensive guide for farm and resource planning, designed especially with beginning farmers in mind, integrating environmental protection with economic and community goals as well as family and personal goals. IFARM addresses marketing, production, financial planning, and assessment. If interested, please email Wyatt Fraas at wyattf@cfra.org.

Do you need help starting a farm or ranch?

We can assist. Give Cait a call at 402.380.5192 or click below.