Beginning Farmer Resources

Below is a list of resources that are useful for beginning and existing farmers in Kentucky.

Education Resources for Kentucky Farmers

KCARD – Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development is a non-profit organization that provides technical assistance and free business planning services to farmers and agricultural businesses in Kentucky.

University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service has an office in every county to provide agricultural outreach and education to Kentucky communities.  Each office has an Agriculture Agent and some have a Horticulture Agent who are there to assist farmers. As a farmer, it is a good idea to get to know your local Extension agents.

University of Kentucky’s Center for Crop Diversification can help you learn about the diverse crops that can be grown here in Kentucky. For more information call (859) 257-1477 or (859) 218-4384.

MarketReady Producer Training Program is a one-day workshop designed to help farmers identify markets, learn what potential customers are looking for and learn ways to competitively position your farm.

Organic Association of Kentucky provides resources and educates Kentucky farmers and consumers who are interested in driving change for a more regenerative and organic food system.

https://newfarmers.usda.gov/ is a new website from USDA with lots of good new farmer resources. Visit their website to learn more.

Funding Resources for Kentucky Farmers

KCARD’s Ag Grant Facilitation Program is designed to help Kentucky farmers and agribusinesses find and apply for funding. To receive KCARD Grant Funding and Newsletters emails, please sign up below or email kcard@kcard.info to be added to the lists. The emails are a great way to learn about grant funding opportunities, happenings and opportunities in Kentucky agriculture as they become available. 

KY Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers financial assistance to new and beginning farmers. There are several FSA Farm Loan programs available to qualifying new farmers that are looking to buy and operate a farm. The Microloan Program that can be used for startup costs, farming expenses, and for the purchase of essential tools. 

NRCS – Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kentucky offers financial and technical assistance through their Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). The program can help with things like grazing and nutrient management, fencing, stock water systems, pasture planting, and seasonal high tunnels.  Locate your local NRCS Office and visit them to learn more. 

Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corporation provides loan opportunities for agricultural businesses, beginning farmers, and other agricultural related projects.

Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) offers several programs to assist agricultural businesses including the Kentucky Proud Promotional Grant, Buy Local, and a Third Party GAP Audit Cost-Share Grant. To qualify you must register to be a member of Kentucky Proud.

County Agriculture Investment Program (CAIP) funds are available to help qualifying farmers; to learn how to apply visit your local Agriculture Extension Agent.

Kentucky Agricultural Development Board funds innovative proposals that increase net farm income and affect tobacco farmers, tobacco-impacted communities, and agriculture across the state by stimulating markets for Kentucky agricultural products, finding new ways to add value to Kentucky agricultural products, and exploring new opportunities for Kentucky farms.

KSU Small Scale Farm and Education Grants are available to help purchase up to $5,000 of equipment for small farmers in Kentucky. Contact Joni Nelson for more info at joni.nelson@kysu.edu or call 502-597-6831.