June 2019     
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In this issue: Therapeutic garden grant, low-interest loans, grants and cost shares, business fee waivers, biz planning, NY Armed to Farm
Financing opportunities:

BEER! Just opened: 
grants to conduct promotion, marketing, and research projects to increase the quality, profitability, production, and sale of malt and brewed beverages produced in Pennsylvania. Cheers!

Small Diverse Business Capital Access Program: Low interest loans/ lines of credit. Must be for-profit and registered with the state as a minority-owned, woman owned, veteran-owned, or service-disabled veteran-owned business with 100 or fewer employees. 

Pennsylvania Capital Access Program (PennCAP) low interest loan guarantee program for land, building, equipment, working capital.

Army vet Bob Miller with a cow at Nice Farms CreameryBeginning farmer low-interest loans: PA's Next Generation Farmer Loan Program uses federal tax-exempt financing to reduce a farmer’s interest rate for capital purchases, such as the purchase of farm land or agricultural machinery and equipment.  Borrower must not have had any prior ownership of a substantial portion of land. Apply through your local redevelopment authority.   Maximum loan amount of $543,000 with no more than $62,500 being used toward the purchase of used equipment.

EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentive Program) is an NRCS technical assistance opportunity.  There's a wide variety of project types from pollinator fields to energy efficiency to water quality best management practices.   For-profit producers  receive financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practiceson working agricultural land.  See the PA EQIP page for more detail, then get started. . Several of our network veteran farmers have accessed NRCS assistance for high tunnels, pollinator habitat, and other improvements--we can connect you with one to share lessons learned. 

First Industries Loan Guarantee program  Participating lenders apply on behalf of a for-profit or non-profit business. This program is for larger projects ($500K+) which will result in significant benefit to the municipality or commonwealth.  Up to 90% guarantee for ag businesses. Can be used for production or tourism. Cannot be used to refinance existing loans.
Through the Small Business Administration (SBA) eligible veterans and their spouses may qualify for a 75% loan guarantee. The SBA offers business planning resources FREE to the military community. Lenders require a viable business plan; find your local SBDC (Small Business Development Center). 

PA Dairy Investment Program  A 15% match is required for this grant program. Pleasant Lane Farm in Westmoreland Co. was an early awardee under this program. 
Are you a for-profit farm or agribusiness  with a stream bank restoration or non-point source pollution project that will improve water quality? The Watershed Restoration and Protection program requires a 15% cash match but may be used to finance projects costing up to $300K on streams on DEP's Impaired Waters list. 

USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) sign-ups are open. CRP contracts pay land owners to remove land from agricultural production so that it can be used for practices like grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others. See fact sheets for your area: NESARE (Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education) Farmer Grant applications will open in the fall. These grants are for commercial producers who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, marketing initiative, or other technique. Working with a technical service provider is required, and SARE will publish the results of your project. 
National Garden Bureau Therapeutic Garden Grant applications are due July 1st. Garden must have been in operation for at least one year and a commitment to continue programming for 5 years is required. Competitive grant with max award of $5000. 

PA military veterans and reservists are exempt from certain fees for business start-ups and professional licensure.
National Herb Garden in DC
Army veteran Bob Miller's Nice Farm Creamery with a black and white barn cat and Creamery truck in background
Is your business plan in need of a remodel? Or non-existent?

Whether you're applying for a loan or grant, or seeking out investors, a current and realistic business plan is a step you cannot skip. If you're new to business planning, there's no need to go it alone. Free resources for veterans and their spouses are available in every locality, even the most rural. Find more info on our Resources webpage. 

Michigan State Extension's Business Plan Template is user-friendly and a good first step. Small Business Development Centers or local SCORE mentors can review and help you refine your plan. Caveat: when contacting SCORE and being matched, be sure to ask if your prospective mentor has ag experience.  While staff reductions at Penn State Extension in recent years have impacted many counties, some still have ag business educators. Find your local Extension office, choose  "County Office Directory" in the left menu, then scroll over the staff listings to see if you have an agribusiness educator in your office or in an adjacent county.

New York “Armed to Farm” Veteran Training
The deadline is approaching for military veterans to apply to attend the week-long Armed to Farm (ATF) training, hosted by the Cornell Small Farms Program’s Farm Ops and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) this summer. This training will be held from July 29 to August 2, 2019, in Victor, NY. The ATF training allows veterans and their spouses to experience sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and explore agriculture as a viable career. Learn more and apply by June 30.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of Disabled American Veterans
Pittsburgh Chapter 8.
Learn more at

The PA Veteran Farming Project thanks Pittsburgh DAV Chapter 8 for their support of our Project efforts.  We serve VA eligible active duty, veterans, Guard and Reserve, and their spouses. There is no charge for our services to eligible individuals. 

Donations to the Project can be made by check payable to "Westmoreland Conservation District" with "Troops to Tractors" in the memo line. WCD is a tax exempt unit of subgovernment, so your gift will be deductible to the full extent of the law. Mail to:
218 Donohoe Rd.,
Greensburg  PA 
Thank you!

Copyright © 2019 PA Veteran Farming Project, All rights reserved.

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PA Veteran Farming Project · PO Box 65 · Forbes Road, PA 15633 · USA

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