Get started with sustainable living by getting the best loans and grants. If money is the only thing holding you back, these options will get you started or give you the money you need to improve your homestead.
Loans and Grants for the Self-Reliant
— This post is courtesy of Homesteading and shared with permission —
You know you want to start or enhance a sustainable homestead or farm on a prepper retreat, maybe you have even found the perfect land at the right price – but you just don’t have enough money on hand to move forward with a loan or expand your existing farm.
Luckily for all of us who want to get back to basics and lead a self-reliant lifestyle, a plethora of grants and low money down agriculture loans and grants exist. Even better, once you actually get your land, additional grants and program participation payments exist for many practices which you will be employing on your homestead anyway – more on those money-making opportunities in a future article.
Agriculture grants are available to not only buy acreage for use as a homestead or prepper retreat, but to develop an agriculture business on the property, build necessary structures, improve the quality of the land, build fencing, and purchase livestock. You just have to know where to look and take the time to apply to help get your self-reliant dream off the ground and closer to becoming a reality.
The United States Department of Agriculture is one of the main sources for very low or no money down residential loans and grants for farmland and agriculture businesses. The federal government has a very vague definition for what exactly qualifies as a valid farm business, basically anything which is grown, raised, harvested from the wild, or made from natural materials found on the land qualifies. Unlike just several years ago, the agriculture business created when applying for a small business commercial grant or loan does not have to show a profit, only the presentation of goods for sale and an attempt to make money from the endeavor. Basically, setting up an “Eggs for sale” or “Horse Boarding” sign at the end of the road, or online, advertising a service or goods qualifies.
Some land grants are specific to state or county. Other funding aide is geared to help female farmers, beginning farmers (less than 10 years of agriculture experience) or minority or organic farmers. Some of the grants and loans have acreage minimums and maximums, so read the full eligibility requirements carefully before printing and filling out the applications downloaded from the internet.
Finding the right grant or loan, or a combination of funding source right for you might take a little digging – but self-reliant folks are used to shoveling and doing the heavy lifting required to get things done!
Top 10 Best Grants and Zero or Low Money Down Loans for Homesteading
1. Beginning Farms USDA Loan
The federal low money down with down payment assistance loan does not have any income restrictions. Beginning farmers and ranchers from anywhere in the country can apply for the annually allocated funds – in the tens of millions of dollars range. The property cannot be more than a specified percentage of the average farm in your county and the property not cost more than about $500,000. You must not have owned or worked for pay on a farm for more than 10 verifiable years to qualify for this program.
2. USDA Rural Development
The Rural Development loans are a no or extremely low money down program offered around the country for agriculture land purchase. There are no income maximums but the land being purchased cannot total more than 20 acres – the acreage limits can and have changed during the funding cycles.
3. Fannie Mae Home Ready
This loan does not have an acreage limit and allows the borrower to have a more than 45 percent DTI – debt to income ration. The HomeReady loan requires just a three percent down payment, very low interest-rates, and permits the down payment money to come from another government or non-profit program, a tax refund, or as a gift from someone not on the loan. Non-borrower household members, adults who are related or unrelated to the borrower but live in the home or are a tenant on the property, regardless of their credit score, can be considered as an income-boosting factor during the loan approval process.
4. Farm Service Agency Operating Loan Program
The FSA low or no money down loan program offers up to $35,000 to farmers for necessary startup expenses such as the purchase of livestock, fertilizer, seeds, crop plants, fencing, and agricultural machinery.
5. National Sustainable Agriculture Commission
The organization offers down payment assistance to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The government program defines socially disadvantaged loan applicants as: Native Americans, women, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Asian Americans, African Americans, Native Hawaiians or any other Pacific Islander. A minimum of three years of farming or comparable experience is one of the requirements for the down payment assistance which can be used to cover the five percent down mandated by most government farm loans.
6. Minority and Women Farmers and Ranchers
The USDA low or no money down program offers funding for the purchase of farmland specifically to female and minority farmers. The applicants must still meet the 640 credit score required for all farm loans to qualify for the purchase and farm startup loan funds.
7. Agricultural Reinvestment Fund
North Carolina farmers can request the $8,000 grants to invest in agricultural enhancement of their existing operation on an annual basis.
8. Missouri Beef Grants
Farmers and ranchers in the state can apply for a $20,000 grant to be used for enhancements to an existing agriculture endeavor to expand their business or to modernize an operation with new equipment or related and necessary farm materials.
9. Farmers Market Promotion
The program was launched to create an affordable route for farmers to market their goods and to support local and regional agricultural production. The money can be used to enhance existing or create new, farm products sales opportunities, for training, to build a roadside farm stand, to host farm events to showcase the goods and services on the homestead, and for agri-tourism events: community event, camping, trail riding, etc.
10. Organic Farming Research Foundation Grants
Small grants to aide organic farmers to enhance their operations, land, barns, fencing, and other production-related needs are available to citizens in all 50 states regardless of the size of their homestead or their income.
If you’re curious on how poor people can buy a land with no money, then click play on this video from Becky’s Homestead:
Knowing your options is half the battle. Your next step should be researching which one will fit your needs. As with everything, preparation is key. You wouldn’t want to start your application only to find out in the middle that you’re not qualified for it. Find out what you’re getting into!
Ever applied for a loan or grant? Share your eperiences and any advice you have in the comments below! Any additional tips will surely help.
If you’re concerned about your finances, best to read up on how to prep for financial collapse too!