Betsy Dorton, Grants Administrator
Brittany Jeffcoat, Grants Coordinator
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 – 2022 Applications coming soon
- GAP Cost Share Application
- Water Quality Analysis Cost Share Application – 2022 Applications coming soon
- Organic Certification Cost Share Application
- Market Development Trade Show & Educational Conference Cost Share Application
- Produce Safety Rule On-Farm Improvement Cost Share Evaluation Request Form
- Produce Safety Rule On-Farm Improvement Cost Share Application
- Value-Added Packaging Cost Share Application
Other Funding Opportunities
- Specialty Crop Block Grant
- Specialty Crop Multi-State Program
- NEW! Agribusiness Development Grants
- Resources for Minority and Women Farmers
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)
- Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP)
- Regional Food Systems Partnerships Program
Executive Summary: The AMS branch of the USDA is establishing the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). The purpose of this program is to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency to support local, regional, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers through the purchase of domestic local foods and distributing to under-served communities. In addition to increasing local food consumption, funds will help build and expand economic opportunity for local and socially disadvantaged producers. The expectation of this program is for agencies to spend the predominance of awarded funds on food purchases. No funds can be spent on agricultural production activities.
Eligible applicants must demonstrate that they are able to fulfill at least one of the following functions: produce, purchase, aggregate, store, transport, and/or distribute SC locally grown, raised, or caught agricultural products to be delivered to under-served communities in SC.
Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 20, 2022, through email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered for funding.
Chris Doyle, Food Nutrition Coordinator
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.