Safe Agritourism provides walkthroughs and checklists for farms hosting the public.
Heroes to Hives is a nine-month, online course is available free to veterans
and their dependents.
Business Planning for Veterans in Ag workshop notes, Dec. 3, 2022; James Cornwell MBA.
AgChoice Credit's free online tools for business planning
Building a Balance Sheet Guide
AgPlan from University of Minnesota Training videos and templates. Free to use, the site walks you
through building a plan and provides templates specific to different types of farms.
AgPlan from University of Minnesota: Free, online business planning. Customize by type: Ag - Commodity,
Ag - Value-Added, Organic Transition, Personal Plan, Small Business
Michigan State Extension's Business Plan Template is super simple and user-friendly.
Once you've drafted your business plan, free consultants from PA's Small Business Development
Center for Ag can review it and work with you to improve it. They consult on a variety of ag-related
businesses including farms, food businesses,
How to Determine Fair Farmland Rental Rates (From Cornell Small Farms program)
Selecting your business structure is key to risk management and business success.
Download Farmers' Guide to Business Structures free, published by SARE.
Local level: county Conservation Districts provide technical assistance, most of it free (fees may
be charged to develop plans and or permits). Most have funding programs and can connect you to
watershed associations or USDA conservation programming. Some offer workshops,
farm equipment to rent at a nominal cost (no-till drills, for example), and do tree sales.
Find yours here.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service---PA Programs and financial assistance to prevent soil erosion, enhance water supplies, improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat, and reduce damages caused by floods and other natural disasters
You county Conservation District provides technical assistance for ag, erosion & sedimentation control, manure
management plans, forestry, and works with local NRCS staff. Find yours. Some CDs provide more varied
services than others, but if the resources you need isn't available in your county, they will refer you to appropriate
service providers. Not available in Philadelphia.
Disaster Programs (USDA) At a Glance
Navigating Disaster Preparedness for Farmers
Is my address in a federal disaster area?
Farmers with disabilities:
AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians assists farmers by linking them to potential resources and providing support to farmers with a disability or long-term health conditions.
Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) helps people with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians get the assistive technology they need with the following programs:
Low-interest and 0% interest financial loans
Information and assistance about possible funding resources
PA Office of Vocational Rehab (OVR) assists with assessment for assistive tech and may fund.
Links to PA Dept. of Ag regs/programs for eggs, fruits/vegetables, retail food establishments, etc.
Questions on federal regs? Get answers from a helpful, real person at these contacts.
Funding: Go to Finances
"Do you have your farm number?" Learn about registering your farm property with USDA Farm Services Agency (FSA), your first step in accessing loans and cost share programs.
PA REAP is a first-come, first-served program that enables farmers, businesses, and landowners to earn PA income tax credits to offset the cost of implementing conservation practices, including energy projects.
Business fee exemption for veteran-owned and reservist-owned small businesses
USDA Farm Service Agency—farm and operating loans. FSA lends to those with 3 years farming experience
in most cases. They may waive 1 year for military service. Their microloans (up to $50k) have a lower threshold for acceptance
and less paperwork than larger loans.
Conservation Tax Credit: Conservation Easements
Horizon Farm Credit finances farms and agribusinesses. In mid-2023 they launched Grow Ahead programming
to support new/beginning farmers. HFC also offers some competitive grants; these will be posted in our newsletter.
Commercial lenders throughout PA may loan for farms and/or equipment.
VA Home loans can be used to purchase a farm under certain conditions. Fact sheet.
Land acquisition/Succession Planning
Pennsylvania's Beginning Farmer Tax Credit permits an owner of agricultural assets to take a tax credit against tax
due for the sale or rental of agricultural assets to a beginning farmer equal to 5% of the lesser of the sale price or the fair market value of the agricultural asset (up to $32,000), or 10% of the gross rental income in each of the first, second, and third years of a rental agreement (up to $7,000 per year).
Beginning Farmer Realty Transfer Tax Exemption: Act 13 of 2019 states that realty transfer tax shall not be imposed upon a transfer of real estate that is subject to an agricultural conservation easement established under authority of the Act of June 30, 1981 (P.L. 128, No. 43), known as the “Agricultural Area Security Law,” to a qualified beginner farmer.
PA Farm Link hosts an online database of farmland for sale/lease and for sellers. They also host farm
succession trainings and have a mentorship program.
If you produce or spread manure, you need a Manure Management Plan. Manure management plan workbook
Livestock Mortality in PA
Marketing Poultry Slaughtered Under USDA Exemption fact sheet
Penn State Law Entrepreneur Assistance offers free help with things such as setting up a LLC, and offers legal
advice. Request assistance.
Food Safety Modernization Act--does it apply to your farm? Find out here.
PA One Stop Mapping Module allows you to generate high quality maps using aerial imagery to meet regulatory requirements of Manure Management Plan and your Conservation Plan. Maps may be saved and edited online, and printed.
PA Preferred/Homegrown by Heroes is a marketing tool for veteran-grown products.
Why Aren't All Meat Processors the Same in Pennsylvania?
Veteran Farmer and Rancher Benefits for Federal Crop Insurance Fact sheet
PA's veteran owned business surplus property program offers a wide variety of federal and state
surplus property. Federal Surplus Property Program
Veteran Business Enterprise (VBEs) and Service Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises (SDVBEs) in PA or with
State surplus property program
Urban Ag toolkit from USDA, with resources on soil health, land acquisition, business planning, and more.
DISCLAIMER: The resources on this site are for educational purposes. We do not provide legal advice. Consult an attorney when needed.
Find a PA Veteran Farm near you--click to see the map here.
Daugherty farm, Fayette Co.