Do you want to start a container farm business?
Are you passionate about starting a business that will be profitable while making a positive impact in your community?
Do you truly believe in doing good, by doing well?
There’s just one problem; you don’t have the money to get started.
We’re not going to lie to you, starting a container farm business is expensive with some containers costing as much as $120,000!
That’s the bad news;
Even though Pure Greens is one of the most cost-effective container farms on the market today, we understand that not everyone has 5-figures laying around to start a business.
But there is some good news;
Because you’re starting a farming business, there are several loans and grants that can help you pay for your container business!
First, let’s talk about the difference between a loan and a grant.
The major difference between a loan and a grant is that a loan must be paid back while a grant does not have to be.
We recommend that you start by looking for grants that you don’t have to pay back, then moving on to loans if you need more funding.
In this article, we’re going to share 10 different loans and grants that can help you pay for part or all the setup costs of your container farm business.
Let’s start with the grants available to beginning farmers.
6 Grants that can help you pay for your container farm business:
1. USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is a United States Department of Agriculture program designed to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. A specialty crop is defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).” Many of the crops which can be grown in a container farm like edible flowers are covered under this definition. To learn more and apply for a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, contact your state department of agriculture or go to https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp
2. USDA Value-Added Producer Grant. The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program is another USDA grant which gives funding to farmers who generate new products, expand marketing opportunities and increase producer income. If applying, you may receive priority if you’re a beginning farmer. To learn more and apply for a USDA VAPG grant of your own visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/value-added-producer-grants
3. USDA Rural Energy for America Program. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides funding to farmers for renewable energy systems or to improve the efficiency of their existing systems. Container farming qualifies as a renewable energy system. Learn more at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency and contact your local USDA office to apply.
4. USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. The National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awards Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) grants to improve economies, increase food production, improve nutrition, and train the next generation of the agricultural workforce. As an individual, you can apply for the Small and Medium-Sized Farms (A1601) grant. Learn more at https://nifa.usda.gov/program/agriculture-and-food-research-initiative-afri or contact your local USDA office.
5. Farmers Market Promotion Program. The Farmer’s Market Promotion Program (FMPP) is a grant designed to increase the production and consumption of locally grown foods. If you are planning to sell your produce at farmer’s markets or to local restaurants, you may qualify for the FMPP program. To learn more, go to https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/fmpp or contact your local branch of the USDA.
6. Local Food Promotion Program. The Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) offers grants with a 25% match for farmers to support the development and expansion of regional and local food businesses. As a container farmer, you are eligible for an LFPP grant. To learn more, go to https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/lfpp or contact your local USDA office.
In addition to these federally available grants, many individual states also have grant programs as well.
Be sure to do a thorough search of the agriculture grants available in your state before moving on to loans.
4 Loans to help you start your container farm business.
1. Farm Service Agency Farm (FSA) Operating Loans. FSA operating loans are designed to help farmers start, maintain or strengthen a farm or ranch. FSA operating loans are a great option for financing your container farm business. To learn more go to https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/farm-operating-loans/index or contact your local FSA.
2. FSA microloans. Microloans are another type of FSA loan which focuses on helping small, beginning and niche farmers as well as non-traditional farm operations like container farms. Microloans do tend to be smaller, so be sure to check how much you are eligible to borrow. To learn more go to https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/microloans/index or contact your local FSA directly.
3. FSA Farm Ownership loans. With no previous farm ownership requirements, FSA ownership loans are a great choice for first-time farmers looking to finance a container farm. Another benefit to the Farm Ownership loan is that it provides 100% of the funding necessary to start your farm. To learn more, go to https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/farm-ownership-loans/index or contact your local FSA.
4. FSA Guaranteed Farm Loans. Unlike the rest of the loans on this list, an FSA guaranteed loan is done through a traditional lender with the backing of the FSA. The FSA can secure favorable financing terms by guaranteeing the loan will be paid back up to 95%. To learn more about FSA guaranteed loans go to https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/guaranteed-farm-loans/index
These are just a few of the federal loans available to new farmers.
Be sure to check around for any local or state agriculture loans you might be eligible for as well.
Starting a container farm is expensive!
But you don’t have to pay for it all yourself.
A variety of grants and loans exist to help you finance your container farm.
In this article, you learned about 6 grants and 4 loans that can help you start your container farm business, but there are dozens of other farmer’s assistance programs out there at both the federal and state level.
Don’t let a lack of funds be the end of your container farming dream!
Do your research, apply for grants and loans and you too can start your own container farming business!
And if you already have funding and are ready to start designing your container farm, then fill out a contact form on our website or give us a call at (602)-753–3469