Financing Opportunities

The Carrot Project
The Carrot Project offers capital and operating loans of $5,000-$250,000 to farms and food businesses in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Carrot’s staff and team of business advisors are also available to provide guidance on when and how to apply for financing, assist with loan applications, and make connections to lenders offering up to $250,000.

CISA Emergency Farm Fund
CISA, in partnership with the Franklin County CDC, offers zero-interest loans of up to $5,000 for Massachusetts farms in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties who are affected by extreme weather events, such as flooding, excessive rainfall, freeze events, extreme heat, drought, or other climate-related weather irregularities. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with no deadline for loans of up to $5000. Following a widespread weather disaster affecting multiple farms, larger loans of up to $25,000 may be available through the fund. The Emergency Farm Fund was launched in October 2011 by CISA, in response to the damage suffered by farms in western Massachusetts due to Hurricane Irene. All the funds raised for the Fund come from the community– local businesses and supporters.

Common Capital
Common Capital is a non-profit community local fund, offering small business loans between $1,000 and $300,000 to businesses in Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin, or Berkshire counties in Western Massachusetts. As a community development lender, they are focused on helping businesses owned by low-to-moderate income individuals, people of color, women and immigrants obtain the capital they need to grow, create and retain jobs, and produce other community benefits. All Common Capital borrowers receive free business assistance and coaching.

Farm Credit East
Farm Credit is a cooperative bank owned by its member farmers, which offers loans and other business services to farms. Farm Credit has many local branch offices across the country, with Farm Credit East serving our region and the nearest office located in Enfield, CT (find contact information here).

Franklin County Community Development Corporation (CDC)
The Franklin County CDC is a community lender; they also offer business planning support and operate the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center. They serve all of western Massachusetts, and they have experience and expertise relevant to farm and food businesses. The CDC manages two funds specifically focused on food and farm businesses:

  • PVGrows Investment Fund – The PVGrows Investment Fund (PVGIF) provides financing and business assistance to local farms and food system entrepreneurs through community investments. The Fund is designed as an alternative for entrepreneurs who may not qualify for more traditional financing. PVGIF offers competitive interest rates, flexible terms, and loans are available from $1,000 to $250,000. We work with the whole continuum of local farm and food businesses including farms, food retailers, food processors, restaurants, aggregators, distributors, wholesalers, and more.
  • MA Food Trust – The MA Food Trust, administered in central and western Massachusetts by the Franklin County CDC, provides grants and loans (usually together), with the goal of increasing the availability of healthy food in low-income, underserved areas.

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Farm Loan Programs
FSA’s low-interest fixed-rate farm loan programs are a valuable resource to establish, improve, expand, transition, and strengthen your farm or ranch. FSA has a variety of different farm loan programs which include farm operating loans, farm ownership loans, emergency farm loans, guaranteed farm loans, rural youth loans. The Microloan Program offers operating loans with a shortened application process and reduced paperwork designed to meet the needs of beginning farmers and smaller family farms. The FSA Emergency Farm Loan program is made available when a natural disaster is designated by the Secretary of Agriculture for producers who have suffered qualifying farm related losses as a result of the disaster.

USDA Rural Development Farm Labor Direct Loans and Grants
This program provides grants and affordable financing to farms to develop housing for farmworkers. Funds can be used for construction, improvement, repair, and/or purchase of housing. Grants are awarded based on need and may not exceed 90% of project cost. For more information, contact your local Rural Development office.

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