Resources for Farmers
Community Involved In Sustaining Agriculture
The Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) is a nonprofit organization working to sustain agriculture in Western Massachusetts through farm profitability, creating farmer/consumer relationships, buy local food campaigns, farmer's markets, and more.
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources offers a variety of technical assistance and grant programs for farmers and farmers markets including agricultural business training for start ups and existing farms, farm energy grants, agricultural preservation restriction acquisitions, new farm start-up grants, 10% utility discounts for farms, farm viability grants for capital improvements on existing farms, and more.
Food Processing Center
The Franklin County Community Development Corporation operates a commercial kitchen, walk-in cooler and freezer, dry storage space, and a packaging area. The food processing center is open to farmers and food processing businesses in Western Massachusetts.
Organic Farming Research Foundation
The Organic Farming Research Foundation mission is to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming practices through:
- Grants for research related to organic farming
- Advocate for policies that support organic farming
- To sponsor research related to organic farming
- To educate farmers and the public about organic farming
The FarmStart mission is to facilitate, support, and encourage a new generation of farmers to develop economically viable, locally based, and ecological agricultural enterprises. Please note that as of April, 2017 the FarmStart web site is still open but the home page notes that their financing resources have dissipated.
The Carrot Project Micro Loan Program
The mission of the Carrot Project Micro Loan Program is to address the difficulty that some New England farmers have in obtaining credit for projects that improve their operations and increase their income, as well as for emergency needs. In Massachusetts The Carrot Project has teamed up with MassDevelopment to help small farmers finance projects that improve their operations and increase their income. The program will provide loans ranging from $3,000 to $35,000.
Eligible farmers will own or lease farms in Massachusetts with preference given to farms:
- With 250 or fewer acres under cultivation
- Having annual revenues of no more than $250,000
- That use or are moving toward organic methods
Applications are accepted quarterly. Check the website for current application deadlines. For more information, please contact the Executive Director, at 617-674-2371 Ext. 5 or by email.
PVGrows Loan Fund
The PV Grows Loan Fund for Food and Agricultural Infrastructure Businesses offers low-interest loans to businesses that fill key gaps in the infrastructure of the Pioneer Valley local food system. PVGrows is looking for committed entrepreneurs with well-researched plans to develop facilities or activities which expand the market for Pioneer Valley-grown agricultural products, such as post-harvest handling, processing, marketing or distribution.
PV Grows Loan Fund can assist you with the following:
- Handling, processing, marketing, or distributing local agricultural products
- Reviewing your business to see if it improves sales for Pioneer Valley farms