Additional Categories

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Contact Us

Laurie George
Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
University of Illinois Extension
4618 Broadway
Mt. Vernon, IL 62864
Phone: 618-242-0780
FAX: 618-242-0781

Grants and Loans

Grants and Loans


  • Farm Credit Services
    A network of independently-owned and operated credit and financial service institutions that serve farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses across the country.

  • Illinois Finance Authority - Beginning Farmer Bond Program
    A self-financed, state authority principally engaged in issuing taxable and tax-exempt bonds, making loans, and investing capital for businesses, nonprofits and agricultural units statewide. The Beginning Farmer Bond Program program provides affordable financing to farmers by using federally tax exempt bonds ("Aggie Bonds") to reduce the interest rate on a loan to purchase farmland. This program can be used between a buyer and his/her local lender or between a buyer and the seller for a contract purchase. The lender or contract seller make all credit decisions for the loan. Loans may be used to purchase capital assets including farmland, new or used farm improvements or buildings, new equipment, and used equipment when purchased with farmland. Loan proceeds may not be used to finance a residence. The maximum loan size is $250,000.

  • Illinois State Treasurer's Office Ag Invest
    Ag Invest partners with approved financial institutions thereby assisting the banks to provide qualified farmers and agriculture professionals below-market rate loans to start or enhance their farm operations. The reduced interest rate lowers the overall cost to enhance the farmer's farm or alternative agriculture business. The loans provided by the financial institution are used to purchase equipment, for construction or for cost related to traditional crop production and alternative activities.

  • USDA - The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
    The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses in rural America to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems; make energy efficiency improvements to non-residential buildings and facilities; use renewable technologies that reduce energy consumption; and participate in energy audits and renewable energy development assistance.

  • USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) EZ Guarantee Loans
    FSA developed the EZ Guarantee Loan to better serve the unique financial operating needs of new, niche, family, underserved or small farm operations by offering faster and simplified application and submission requirements. These farms often face limited financing options. USDA-approved lenders can apply to FSA on behalf of their applicants to obtain a guarantee of up to 95 percent for the EZ Guarantee Loan.

  • USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Storage Facility Loans
    Farm Storage Facility Loans finance the purchase, construction, or refurbishment of farm storage facilities.

  • USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Microloans
    Microloans are direct farm operating loans with a shortened application process and reduced paperwork designed to meet the needs of smaller, non-traditional, and niche type operations. Apprentice and mentorship programs, non-farm business experience, and farm labor experience are acceptable alternative solutions for helping to meet farm experience and managerial requirements.

  • USDA Farm Service Agency Farm (FSA) Loan Programs
    Valuable resource to establish, improve, expand, transition, and strengthen your farm or ranch through farm loan programs.

  • USDA Farm Services Agency – Beginning Farm Loan Program
    The Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides direct and guaranteed loans to beginning farmers and ranchers who are unable to obtain financing from commercial credit sources. Each fiscal year, the Agency targets a portion of its direct and guaranteed farm ownership (FO) and operating loan (OL) funds to beginning farmers and ranchers.

  • Whole Foods Market Local Producer Loan Program
    In addition to featuring local products in our stores, we're putting our money where our mouths are by providing up to $10 million in low-interest loans to independent local farmers and food artisans. We're proud to support small producers who need a hand, not a handout, to help them make their dreams reality.