CISA Emergency Farm Fund

The CISA Emergency Farm Fund is now closed.

CISA’s Emergency Farm Fund offers zero-interest loans to assist farmers and farm businesses struggling to meet their immediate needs in the aftermath of extreme weather events. The goal of this fund is to fill in critical gaps in available insurance and financing options, and to help farms better manage risk in the wake of increasingly unpredictable weather.

The fund was established in 2011 in partnership with Whole Foods Market and Equity Trust, as a response to the damage suffered by farms in western Massachusetts due to Hurricane Irene. Through three rounds of loans since its opening, the Fund has distributed $221,000 in loans to twenty-five farms.

Who May Apply:

Loan applications will be accepted from farms that:

  • Have had significant losses due to excessive rainfall or other extreme weather events that occurred during the 2018 growing season
  • Are Local Hero member farms or operate in Franklin, Hampshire, or Hampden counties in Massachusetts
  • Demonstrate need and a capacity to repay the loan (perfect credit history not required)
  • Have gross annual sales for 2017 that were $20,000 or more. If your farm did not gross at least $20,000, please contact CISA at 413-665-7100 for more information.

If there are more applicants than there are funds available, the highest priority for loans will be given to farm businesses:

  • That have the strongest potential to benefit from the loan
  • That had greater losses due to extreme weather
  • That lacked access to viable insurance options to mitigate losses
  • That are owned by one or more limited resource producers
  • That have not received an Emergency Farm Fund loan in the past five years

Loan Amount and Rate:

From $5,000 to $10,000 at a 0% interest rate, full repayment is expected within three years, on a schedule determined on a case-by-case basis. First payment can begin one year from receipt of loan monies.


Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the deadline, October 31st. Decisions will be made by November 15th by a team of people from a variety of agricultural backgrounds. Loan monies will be received after completion of a signed loan agreement and promissory note.

About CISA’s Emergency Farm Fund Loan Committee:

The Loan Review Committee includes a team of people with a variety of agricultural backgrounds, including CISA staff and board members, staff from Equity Trust and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, and farmers.

Questions? Call the CISA office at 413-665-7100.


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