Find Land and Fund Your Farm Operation – Farmers.gov

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Finding land and money for your business can be tough, but USDA has been helping new producers for decades. As a new farmer or rancher, access to land and access to capital are probably your biggest challenges. Whether you are looking for a small amount of funding to acquire a few basic pieces of equipment, need a larger chunk of money to invest in scaling up your operation, or need financing to acquire land and infrastructure, USDA has a variety of loans and resources that can help you.
Keep reading about finding land and capital below, get an overview of the beginning farmer’s journey, or jump to a different section of the farmer’s journey.
The first and most critical step to obtaining financing is a good business plan. If you haven’t done so already, follow our guidance on writing a business plan to build your own. Once you have a business plan, visit your local service center to learn about financing options through USDA.
You will need land to grow your business. You may choose to lease, rent, or purchase land. You may also be interested in a creative approach to growing space—such as container farming, aquaponics, or rooftop farming. USDA has resources for all types of farmers!
If you’re inheriting land and unsure on how to move forward, visit our Heirs’ Property Landowners page for more information on how to navigate this process.
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Understand your budget and operation needs. Take a long look at your financial situation when evaluating the prices of farmland that you’re considering.
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Compare different options like the costs between purchasing and renting land. Be sure to check land values and rental rates to see if it is in line with what you can afford.
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Check the climate and growing conditions on the land to make sure it matches needs of your specific operation.
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Assess the land properly before agreeing to rent or purchase it. Learn more about assessing land from the Farmland Information Center’s site assessment worksheet and use it as a guide when documenting your findings. Assessment examples:
Renting land may be a better option when starting out. You might find some leads from these groups:
The Farmland Information Center and Farm Answers provide resources for purchasing or leasing land, such as information about the land acquisition process.
Reach out to your local USDA Service Center to see if there is any land for sale or lease through the Transition Incentive Program (TIP). TIP is a Farm Service Agency (FSA) program that offers assistance for land owners and operators to transition expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land to a beginning, veteran, or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher.
 
To see what’s available, check out FSA’s inventory of farmland property for purchase. Beginning farmers have first priority to purchase these properties at the appraised value.
To buy the land, you might want to consider Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loans from FSA such as the Down Payment Loan and farm ownership loans.
If you’re connected with your local farming community, the Transition Incentives Program might provide an opportunity to purchase land from owners looking to return land to production.
USDA does not offer grants for purchasing land and most grants that are available are for low dollar amounts or for very specific purposes. If you are looking for a grant, check with your local service center — they may be aware of state grant opportunities — or check out the following resources:
A farmer drives a windrower to harvest alfalfa 
The next step after acquiring farmland is to start looking for capital to fund your operation.
Understand the types of funding you need before applying for loans. USDA offers loans for different types of agricultural needs including but not limited to:
Use our Farm Loan Assistance Tool, read our Farm Loans factsheet, or check out FSA’s information about farm loan programs to learn about USDA farm loans that might be right for you.
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The Farm Service Agency (FSA) makes and guarantees loans to farmers who are unable to obtain financing from commercial lenders. You can use FSA loans to pay normal operating or family living expenses, purchase and develop farmland, implement approved conservation plans, and buy farm structures, seeds, livestock and equipment.
Each year, FSA targets a portion of its lending by setting aside a portion of all loan funds for financing beginning farmer and rancher operations through the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loans. These opportunities also address the unique circumstances and concerns of socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and veteran farmers and ranchers known collectively as “historically underserved producers”.
You can also get loans to help finance your portion of conservation practices supported by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Visit our Loans page for more information about funding you can apply for. 
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You may want to explore other agencies that finance agriculture and food businesses. Sometimes combining funding from multiple sources is helpful.
To get started with the Small Business Administration (SBA), you should visit a local bank or lending institution that participates in SBA programs. You can use Lender Match to connect with participating SBA Lenders and complete a short, online questionnaire. An interested lender and prospective borrower can then connect.
Once you have acquired your land and obtained the necessary funding, you will need to start building your operation by determining the legal structure of your business and obtaining the necessary licenses and permits. Start considering insurance options and making decisions on business management components.
4. build your farm operation
Get an overview of the beginning farmer’s journey or jump to a specific page below.
USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.
Learn more about our Urban Service Centers.

Visit the Risk Management Agency website to find a regional or compliance office or to find an insurance agent near you.
Stay updated on the latest news and stories from farmers.gov and other USDA topics.

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