Funding Opportunities and Grants

NRCS EQIP
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) supports production agriculture and environmental quality. Farmers, ranchers and other land owners may receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and land management conservation practices on their land. To obtain funding, visit the website and follow the Summary.

Michigan NRCS
Established on Michigan State’s campus in 1958, the Michigan Natural Resources Conservation Service (originally Soil Conservation Service) has provided conservation technical assistance to Michigan landowners since the 1930s.

The Small Business Administration
SBA provides support to small businesses and small-business owners across the nation through capital, contracts and counseling. USDA and SBA have signed an agreement to encourage sustainable growth and development, including through support for local and regional food systems.

USDA Small Business Innovation Research
This program competitively awards grants to small businesses qualified for advanced concepts research related to agriculture. The project aims to solve agriculture problems, benefiting the public and strengthening the role of small businesses in meeting development their needs.

NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
Following renewed interest in beginning farmer programs, $20 million was allocated each year from 2014-2018. The new programs address the growing needs of next generation farmers and ranchers.

Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG)
VAP Grants create jobs and economic growth in rural communities by increasing income and marketing opportunities for farmers and by improving the local economy through job development and retention. Rural Development will continue the annual grant cycle beginning in 2015.

The maximum allotted grant amount is $75,000 for planning grants and $200,000 for working capital grants.

Ceres Trust: Grant Areas
Ceres Trust provides grants supporting organic agriculture research at universities and aims to supply education for careers in organic food production and crop preservation.

OFRF Grant Research Database
The Organic Farming Research Foundation facilitates research for the organic farming community. Investment in projects grows as consumer demand for organics increases. To view grants or grant opportunities, visit the grant research database.

ShadeFund
Provides small loans to promising green entrepreneurs across America. Green entrepreneurs who work in sustainable forestry and forest products, sustainable or organic farming, eco-tourism, natural food and medicines, biomass, and energy efficiency projects can apply for a ShadeFund loan. For more information, read their information sheet.

Whole Foods Grocery loan Program for Organic Farmers
Whole Foods Market offers low-interest loans to independent local farmers and food artisans. Farmers can apply for amounts between $1,000 and $100,000 (maximum $25,000 for start-ups) at fixed interest rates (currently between 5% and 9%). Loan amounts cannot exceed 80 percent of total project costs and seek to reinforce Whole Foods commitment to local products.

Hoophouses for Health
This program is designed to introduce vulnerable families to local farmers markets to provide them with the resources they need to become loyal, repeat customers. 

Sustainable Agriculture Research Extension Program (SARE)
SARE’s Farmer Rancher Grant Program is a competitive grant program for farmers and ranchers interested in providing sustainable solutions through research, education and instruction.

Farmers and ranchers have the critical insight needed to improve their systems. Whether needing to limit off-farm inputs, reduce erosion, learn marketing skills, or find other ways to enhance their livelihoods, farmers and ranchers can turn to the North Central Region SARE (NCR-SARE) for grant opportunities and information. And while guidelines may differ by region, this grant is available to all U.S. farmers.

Several grant programs available for farmers, ranchers, educators, and researchers. Here is a list of the grants that Michigan’s region (North Central Region) offers:

Farmer Rancher*

Early August – Call for Proposals Released
Early December – Proposals Due
February – Funding Decisions
Spring – Funds Available to Recipients

Graduate Student*

March – Call for Proposals Released
Early May – Proposals Due
Late July – Funding Decisions
September – Funds Available to Recipients Research and Education*
August – Call for Preproposals Released
Late October- Preproposals Due
Late January – Full Proposals Invited
April – Full Proposals Due
Late July – Funding Decisions
Fall – Funds Available to Recipient Professional Development Program*
December – Call for Proposals Released
Mid-March – Proposals Due
Early August – Funding Decisions
October – Funds Available to Recipient

Youth Educator*

Early August: Call for Proposals Released
Mid November: Proposals Due
February: Funding Decisions
Spring: Funds Available to Recipients

Partnership*

Early August: Call for Proposals Released
Late October: Proposals Due
February: Funding Decisions
March: Funds Available to Recipients

  • Proposal deadline is in mid-November each year
  • Awarded funds range from $7,500 (individual) to $15,000 (partnered farms) and $22,500 (multiple farms)

SARE Sustainable Agriculture Grants
SARE has funded more than 5,000 research and education projects with grants exploring:

  • On-farm renewable energy
  • No-till and conservation tillage
  • Pest and weed management
  • Pastured livestock & rotational grazing
  • Nutrient management
  • Agroforestry
  • Marketing
  • Sustainable communities
  • Systems research
  • Crop and livestock diversity