There are grants and then there are grants--funding which does not have to be repaid if the conditions of the grant agreement are met.
And are handouts, and there are "hand-ups". Many veterans let funding opportunities pass them by because they feel another veteran 'needs it more'. Or, they may be reluctant to apply for a grant from the state or feds because they don't want to be 'dependent' on anyone. And while self-sufficiency is laudable, grants are 'earned' awards, not handouts. Government grants are public monies--yours, mine, and ours--so they and cost shares such as NRCS programming is using public money for the public good on your farm.
Grants to farms are not hand-outs--they are funding to help farmers that have proven that they have a viable plan and the skills that will most likely lead them to succeed.
The FACT (Food Animal Concerns Trust) grant recently awarded to USMC veteran owned Hubbard Family Ranch is an acknowledgment that the way Dan Hubbard and his family raise their animals, on pasture at a meticulously kept farm, demonstrates good stewardship. When Giana VanNice received the PAVFP 2020 Women Veterans' minigrant funded by The Skirted Soldier's Rhonda Smith, she was chosen from a field of applicants because the reviewers believed that the grant funds would be used for a specific project which would have measurable and positive results which would enhance the economic sustainability of Blue Do Farms.
Finally, are grants for veterans to start a farm? The straight answer is...pretty much, no. Why? Because whether donated money or tax funds, those tasked with stewarding those dollars typically require some proof that you have the capacity to fulfill the award requirements in order to get a grant. For farmers, that means a track record of at a growing season or two, a business plan that makes sense, and a few sales. In other words, some skin in the game.
We've updated our fact sheet on grants here.
[The Covid-19 SBA 'loans' actually act as grants up to a set amount. Confusing? Yes.]