the application. (The application consists of both short answer and essay
questions and requires veterans to submit a business plan.)
for the award announcements in April.
A webinar to review the application followed by a
Q&A session will be held Wednesday, February 13 at 2:30 p.m. PST.
Registration is limited to the first 500 participants, but a recording will be
posted to the Fellowship web page after it’s completed. To register, go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8095158054240674827.
This post does not promise to be a comprehensive review of all the new programs and funding in the new Farm Bill. Rather, it is a short review for you to begin to think about ways in which you can potentially use some new programs or additional funding in the Farm Bill for your own operation. (For a thorough review of the beginning farmer initiatives, click here.)
Additionally, the FSA will continue to prioritize beginning farmers in its direct and guaranteed farm ownership and operating loan programs.
NRCS’ EQIP program will continue to cost-share with beginning, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged farmers. Additionally, while a farmer can current receive up to 30% of a project’s cost in advance, the new farm bill increases the possible cost-share to 50%.
The Agricultural Lands Easement program (ALE) combines the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) and Grassland Reserve Program (GRP). ALE is part of the larger Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), which also contains the former Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).
There are some additional provisions, such as conservation funding and a return of the Transition Incentive Program (with an increase in funding) administered by the FSA. There are also some clarifications within the Value Added Producer program defining beginning farmer status in multi-applicant applications.
Overall, there are some interesting opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers in the new Farm Bill. As the new programs, additional funding, and more details become available, we’ll know more about how to maximize use of the programs for specific types of operations. But as of now, there appears to be a significant amount of promise in the new Farm Bill for beginning farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged farmers, and veteran farmers.
Because yesterday was Memorial Day, it is appropriate to discuss unique programs for veterans who are also beginning farmers. If you are interested in the types of programs starting across the country, the National Young Farmers’ Coalition has a good overview.
In Nebraska, The Center for Rural Affairs spearheads the Veteran Farmers Project. The Veteran Farmers Project provides training on farming topics and financing, individual consultants, and a HelpLine.
And remember our conversation about the Farm Service Agency’s new microloans? Microloans are also available to veterans. Keep in mind that the Small Business Association also provides microloans up to $50,000 through non-profit intermediaries. The SBA loans are similar to the FSA loans — you may purchase equipment or machinery, provide working capital, purchase inventory or supplies, and/or furniture and fixtures. Of note, the microloan from the SBA cannot be used to purchase real estate. A listing of participating intermediaries by state is here.
Don’t forget, in Nebraska and South Dakota, Legal Aid of Nebraska can provide assistance to veterans who are also beginning farmers. We’re happy to help so feel free to contact us at any time!