Getting grants for your farm!

How to get free money for your farm. That is the title I have chosen for this short article. But it is really about finding grant money, or small business loan guarantees for your farm or business.

There are many ways to get funding for a new business when you already have good to fare credit and a great business plan. But what most people want to know if what to do when you do not have it all together. One great resource (of many) is the Small Business Administration. This Government program offers free support and many different programs that can help you.

Created in 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) continues to help small business owners and entrepreneurs pursue the American dream. The SBA is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to small business and provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses.

Often the first step to take is to look online and see if there is a small business administration office near you. You can also learn a great deal from their website.

Banks and other lending institutions offer a number of SBA guaranteed loan programs to assist small businesses. While SBA itself does not make loans, it does guarantee loans made to small businesses by private and other institutions.

Below is an overview of SBA’s guaranteed loan programs. For more information, click on the name of the program.

7(a) Loan Program:
This is SBA’s primary and most flexible loan program, with financing guaranteed for a variety of general business purposes. It is designed for start-up and existing small businesses, and is delivered through commercial lending institutions.

The major types of 7(a) loans are:

Express Programs

Export Loan Programs

Special Purpose Loans Program

CDC/504 Loan Program:
This program provides long-term, fixed-rate financing to acquire fixed assets (such as real estate or equipment) for expansion or modernization. It is designed for small businesses requiring “brick and mortar” financing, and is delivered by CDCs (Certified Development Companies)—private, non-profit corporations set up to contribute to the economic development of their communities.

Microloan Program:
This program provides small (up to $35,000) short-term loans for working capital or the purchase of inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery and/or equipment. It is designed for small businesses and not-for-profit child-care centers needing small-scale financing and technical assistance for start-up or expansion, and is delivered through specially designated intermediary lenders (nonprofit organizations with experience in lending and technical assistance).

Disaster Assistance Loan Program:
This program provides low-interest loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and most private non-profit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.

Now the SBA is just one of many organizations and programs available as I mentioned before.

Recently, Cornell University provided a free webinar on grants and other programs. You can watch a replay of that seminar here: