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CISA Emergency Farm Fund

The Emergency Farm Fund is now open to accept applications from farms in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties, Massachusetts, that have been affected by COVID-19. Loans are available for eligible farms that have suffered income loss because of farmers’ market, restaurant, and college closures or other disruptions due to COVID-19. In partnership with the Franklin County CDC and the Pioneer Valley Grows Investment Fund, we are offering zero-interest loans up to $25,000.

Applications are due June 22nd, 2020.

The Emergency Farm Fund offers zero-interest loans to assist farmers and farm businesses struggling to meet their immediate financial needs because of market changes and closures. The goal of this fund is to respond to critical, time-sensitive needs. Loans up to $5,000 will be issued and administered by CISA, and loans above $5,000 will be issued and administered by the Pioneer Valley Grows Investment Fund/Franklin County CDC.

Other forms of disaster relief and assistance may become available; see information about these options under “Economic Assistance Resources” here. Please contact Kristen Wilmer at CISA if you would like help determining whether or not CISA’s loan is the best option for your business; email is best, but you can also call 413-665-7100, ext.12.

The Emergency Farm Fund was established in 2011 as a response to the damage suffered by farms in western Massachusetts due to Hurricane Irene.

Who May Apply:

Loan applications will be accepted from farms that:

  • Have had losses due to COVID-19
  • 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 2019 that were $20,000 or more. If your farm did not gross at least $20,000, please contact CISA for more information (email is best, but you can also call 413-665-7100, ext. 12).

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

  • Had larger losses
  • Have the strongest potential to benefit from the loan
  • Are owned by one or more limited resource producers
  • Have not received an Emergency Farm Fund loan in the past five years

Loan Amount and Rate:

Up to $25,000 at a 0% interest rate. Full repayment is expected within three years, with monthly payments beginning six months after the loan closing. We are willing to discuss different schedules for repayment if needed.

Decisions:

Applications will be considered following the deadline of June 22nd. Loan monies will be received after completion of a signed loan agreement and promissory note (if needed, this will be done remotely).

About CISA’s Emergency Farm Fund Loan Committee:

The Loan Review Committee includes a team of people with a variety of agricultural backgrounds, including staff from CISA, the Franklin County CDC/Pioneer Valley Grows Investment Fund, Equity Trust, and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, and farmers.

Questions? Email jennifer@buylocalfood.org.

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