Betsy Dorton, Grants Administrator
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) administers numerous federal grants and cooperative agreements internally through the initiatives of its various departments. Many inquiries are received by the SCDA Grants Administration office from individual farmers, growers, and producers looking for ways to fund their farm needs. Please keep in mind that government grants typically fund projects and research, not people or small businesses (including farms). Simply stated, State and Federal agricultural grants are not for individuals looking to begin, save, maintain or expand a farm business. Federal grants are paid for by taxpayers, so there are very strict eligibility, application, selection and reporting requirements. Generally, an entity must be an IRS-designated-non-profit 501(c)3, cooperative, commission, university, or unit of local government to qualify for a federal/state grant. People and/or private businesses very rarely qualify for these grants.
That said, this page includes some resources that may be helpful in your search for assistance. The information included here is not all-inclusive, but provides a starting point for agriculture-related grant/loan research. As you study the opportunities provided here, remember to pay close attention to eligibility guidelines before applying for a grant or loan.
If you are interested in Starting or Expanding a Farm, click here.
If you are a military veteran with an agricultural business, click Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund to learn more about grants of up to $5,000 to help start or manage a farm.
Funding Available from SCDA
The following reimbursement programs are available to individual farmers/growers/producers through sub-awards from projects of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Click on the name of the program to learn more.
- Cold Storage Cost Share Application
- GAP Cost Share Application
- Water Quality Analysis Cost Share Application
- Organic Certification Cost Share Application – Now with additional funding from SC Farm Credit!
Other Funding Opportunities
Funding Available from USDA
Agricultural Marketing Service
- AMS Grant & Opportunities Fact Sheet
- Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
- Federal State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP)
- Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) – Applications Due May 26, 2020
- Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) – Applications Due May 26, 2020
- Regional Food Systems Partnerships Program – Applications Due May 26, 2020
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
- Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)
- Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)
- Community Food Project Competitive Grants Program
- Search More NIFA Grants
Food and Nutrition Service
Funding Available from Other Organizations
Remember, very few grants, whether by a private foundation or the federal government, provide funding directly to individuals. However, if you are representing a non-profit organization, the South Carolina State Library offers free assistance with searching for private foundational grants as well as for writing grant proposals. Visit SC State Library Grants Research Assistance to learn more.