Blog 45. Looking for Federal Assistance? We’ve Got a One-Stop Shop for You!

By Cathy Svejkovsky, NCAT Publications Director

I’ve been on staff for decades at the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), which has, over the years, managed a wealth of projects related to sustainable agriculture, sustainable energy, and sustainable communities. Throughout that time, one of the most common questions we consistently receive from our clients is some version of “Is federal assistance available for my project?” And the simple answer is “Yes, lots!”

If you’re asking that question, too, you don’t want to miss the newly revised Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities: A Guide to Federal Programs for Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry, Entrepreneurship, Conservation, Food Systems, and Community Development.

Authored by Donale Richards, Margaret Krome, and Alejandra Hernandez, all with the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, along with policy staff with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), the comprehensive guide “is written for anyone seeking help from federal programs to foster sustainable and innovative initiatives associated with agriculture and forestry in this country [United States] and territories.”

This 2020 update includes new programs authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill, as well as a host of enduring programs, organized by category. Weighing in at a hefty 95 pages, it’s packed to its margins with clear, concise, and current information on grants and loans, technical assistance, information resources, and more.

“I often refer transitioning soldiers, veterans, and other beginning farmers to this publication. So often, beginning farmers or those considering farming as a vocation are hungry for resources to help them get their farms started or answer specific questions. The Guide provides a comprehensive, one-stop-shop to so many helpful resources. It’s well organized and allows searches by topic and agency.”
—Kerri Ebert, Coordinator of Kansas SARE Professional Development Program

For example, let’s say you’re looking for farm loans. You can go right to that category, and learn about available Direct and Guaranteed Farm Loans, Down Payment Loan Programs, Farm Storage Facility Loans, Land Contract Guarantees, Loan Set Asides, and Microloan Programs. Within each of these loan types, the guide provides program basics, information on the application process, considerations, financial information such as loan limits, and additional information resources.

The authors have done all the legwork for you, packaging their research in an invaluable one-stop shop that will save you time and energy, and allow you to start planning your project right now.

The ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture Program has been distributing this guide for years, and we’re so pleased to have a fresh inventory of the latest version. You can download it directly from our website as a PDF, or request a print copy (which, by the way, is beautifully designed) by emailing pubs@ncat.org, or by calling (800) 346-9140.