Grants and Loans for Farmers


Here is a list of grants and loans available to new and seasoned farmers. These programs can help you develop and launch your farm business with advice, training, or capital. You may also find assistance with finding solutions to your farm’s infrastructure and production challenges.

Business Loans

Farmer Training Grants

Farmer Business Grants

Other Grants of Interest to Farmers

Grants for Farmers on Southern Vancouver Island

1.1 Business Loans

1.1.1 Co-vision: Start-up Financing Program

Who can apply?

Entrepreneurs who want to start a business

Description

This program helps entrepreneurs start up new businesses by providing them with long-term loans as well as consulting services and advice.

Application process

The application is fairly involved. The candidate has to demonstrate market and sales potential, long-term viability and expertise in their chosen field.

There are also some other loan programs advertised through Service Canada but administered through Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Program end

No set end date

Contact

Service Canada
1-800- 622-6232

www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/goc/co_vision_financing.shtml

Comments

This a loan, not a grant. Farmers who don’t own land or who don’t have many tangible assets may have trouble qualifying.

1.2 Farmer Training Grants

1.2.1 Canadian Agricultural Skills Services

Who can apply?

New and established farmers

Description

Up to $10,000 for farmers and their spouses to use toward training for on- and off-farm work

Application process

Applicants must submit their income tax statements and design a learning plan with a case worker.

Program end

March 31, 2009, but call AAFC to request a renewal of this program (see Comments)

Contact

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
780-495-3212 / 1-866-452-5558
Canadian Agri-Renewal Services
Edmonton, Alta, T5J 4C3

Comments

CASS was discontinued in December 2008, but AAFC has advised that although they close programs at regular intervals for evaluation and follow-up with recipients, it’s useful to provide program information as a lead for people to the next generation of CASS.

This grant was worth up to $1500 for low income farmers, and lesser amounts for farmers of different income levels. Farmers were paid fees paid for courses, travel and even some equipment rental that is required for learning activities. Farmers could also use the funds for hiring replacement labour while they are away from the farm.

The limitations were that you cannot use it for a university degree, and you have to plan well in advance because it takes up to 8 weeks for approval of learning activities. Applicants must navigate through many layers of bureaucracy and must save all receipts and documentation for reimbursement.

1.2.2 Self-Employment with Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Who can apply?

Entrepreneurs who are eligible for Employment Insurance

Description

Participants receive financial support while they develop and implement their business plan.

Application process

Applicants are provided with a case worker to help with the process.

Program end

Check at year end for program extension

Contact

Service Canada
1-800-622-6232

www.servicecanada.gc.ca/

Comments

The amount of the grant varies depending on your Employment Insurance rate, but the funding lasts for 22 weeks while you learn business skills and undertake market research. The program requires some class time and assignments.

1.3 Farmer Business Grants

1.3.1 Farm Business Assessment

Who can apply?

New and established farmers

Description

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will pay for a business planning professional to provide you with a one-on-one financial review of your farm business, up to three days of consultation, an action plan, and a follow up visit.

Application process

A simple application form must be submitted

Program end

No set end date

Contact

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Canadian Agri-Renewal Services
Edmonton, Alta, T5J 4C3
780-495-3212 / 1-866-452-5558

Comments

The value of this grant is up to $2500 in consultant fees. Applicants may be required to cover $100 of these fees. This program has limited use because applicants must use an approved business consultant. In some circumstances, conventional business thinking is not congruent with small-scale diversified operations. Good communication with AAFC prior to the consultant selection is recommended.

1.3.2 Cooperative Development Initiative

Who can apply?

Any person or group interested in a cooperative venture

Description

A program to help people develop cooperatives

There are advisory services to help farmers get started, and innovation and research programs to test innovative ways of using the co-operative model.

Application process

A formal proposal is required.

Program end

March 2013

Contact

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Government of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0C5
613-759-7194
www.coop.gc.ca/COOP/display-afficher.do?id=1232543849777&lang=eng

Comments

Grants are available from $5000-$75,000, and multi-year projects can get approval. Staff at CDI (and the Cooperative Associations) are very encouraging, so it is a worthwhile grant to explore.

1.4 Other Grants of Interest to Farmers

1.4.1 The Canada-British Columbia Water Supply Expansion Program

Who can apply?

New and established farmers

Description

This program is designed to support producers with both technical expertise and financial assistance for planning and development of projects that will improve their access to long-term, sustainable agricultural water supplies. They support on-farm water projects such as wells, dugouts, water storage systems, and supply lines. There’s also money for bigger regional projects like pipelines and groundwater studies.

Application process

A simple application form must be submitted.

Program end

March 31, 2009, but look for a renewal of this program

Contact

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
140-32160 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford, BC V2T 1W5
(866) 522-3447

Comments

Program participants will receive up to one-third of the eligible costs, to a maximum of $5,000 per project. Funds can be used to dig ponds or install new water lines. All projects must be approved before they are started, and must be completed in a defined timeframe.

1.4.2 Environmental Farm Plan

Who can apply?

New and established farmers

Description

This program helps producers identify environmental risks and strengths on their farms. After completing the process, farmers are eligible for funding and cost-shared incentives to help them implement solutions to problems identified in their plans. Projects that can receive funding include fencing, drainage, riparian enhancement, building upgrades, etc.

Application process

The application form is straightforward. Ample support includes workshops for farmers in the process of completing the forms.

Program end

No set end date

Contact

British Columbia Agriculture Council (BCAC)
Niels Holbek, niels@bcac.bc.ca
Ron Bertrand, ron@bcac.bc.ca
/www.ardcorp.ca/index.php?page_id=14

Comments

The main reason for completing this farm plan is so you can be eligible for funding for fencing, drainage, or water supply.

1.4.3 Youth Employment Strategy#&8212Summer Work Experience

Who can apply?

Any farm with a business number (very simple to obtain)

Description

This is a wage subsidy program that provides a portion of a student’s wage for the summer.

Application process

Form can be downloaded from website and is straightforward to complete

Program end

No set end date

Contact

Service Canada
1-800-622-6232
www.servicecanada.gc.ca

Comments

This program will pay up to $4/hr of students’ wages for the summer. The main limitation of this program is that successful candidates aren’t informed until April or May, when most farmers have already made their hiring plans.

1.4.4 Agri-Invest

Who can apply?

Farmers who have reported farming income in the past, and are currently farming

Description

This is a program designed to help producers protect themselves from small declines in their incomes. Each year, you can invest a set amount of money into an account and you will receive matching funds from federal and provincial governments.

Application process

Farmers must submit income tax statements from past years and fill in an application form.

Program end

No set end date

Contact

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
www.agr.gc.ca/AAFC-AAC/display-afficher.do?id=1200410437197&lang=e

Comments

This program is basically a bank account for farmers to help them put aside money for times when their income is lower than average. Farmers get approved for maximum contributions and AAFC will match them. Watch for a KickStart program which is an added incentive for signing up.

1.4.5 Agri-Stability

Who can apply?

Farmers who have reported farming income in the past five years and are currently farming

Description

This is a replacement for the Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization program (CAIS). Basically, AAFC assesses your median income based on income tax statements for past years with the highest and lowest years dropped from the calculation. If your income falls below this median, you’ll receive a payment.

Application process

Farmers must submit income tax statements from past years and fill in an application form.

Program end

No set end date

Contact

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
www.agr.gc.ca/AAFC-AAC/display-afficher.do?id=1200508680358&lang=e

Comments

This program runs parallel with Agri-Invest so you can sign up for the pair of programs to help save and buffer from low earnings.

1.4.6 Production Insurance

Who can apply?

Any producers who have insurable agricultural commodities

Description

Production insurance offers financial protection against crop losses due to uncontrollable weather. Premiums for coverage of approved crops are cost shared between the producer, the province, and the federal government. Producers who participate in this program are eligible for other AAFC programs like Cover Crop Protection.

Application process

Contact your local Production Insurance office
www.al.gov.bc.ca/production_insurance/office_contacts/regional_offices.pdf for an application package and deadlines.

Contact

Ministry of Agriculture and Lands
www.al.gov.bc.ca/production_insurance/

Comments

Production Insurance has significantly changed its program. To see how the new changes will benefit you, please visit their website or call your local Production Insurance office [www.al.gov.bc.ca/production_insurance/office_contacts/regional_offices.pdf]

Check the website for regular updates.

1.4.7 Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia: Small Projects Program

Who can apply?

All residents of BC

Description

The Investment Agriculture Foundation delivers a variety of programs and initiatives on behalf of the federal and provincial governments to helps the various agricultural sectors adapt, diversify and grow. If you have an idea for a project that would benefit your community of growers or the whole sector, contact the IAF staff to discuss your idea. They can fund projects that help industry address today’s challenges and explore tomorrow’s possibilities.

Application process

Applicants must submit a proposal.

Program end

No set end date

Contact

Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia
PO Box 8248, Victoria, BC, V8W 3R9
250-356-1662
Email: funding@iafbc.ca
www.iafbc.ca/

Comments

This program is more for community building than for individual farm benefit. However, farmers wishing to host workshops or programs on their farms can apply. Projects that are likely to be funded include conferences, community capacity building or research for a specific sector.

1.4.8 BC Beehive Protection Program

Who can apply?

Applicants must be residents of BC, must own and operate a minimum of 20 hives, and must maintain registered Bee Yards under provisions of the BC Bee Act.

Description

This program is designed to help beekeepers with the construction and financing of electric fences to prevent bear damage to beehives. Assistance to prevent damage from other wildlife (skunks, woodpeckers, etc) will also be considered.

Application process

Simple application form

Program end

No set end date

Contact

www.agf.gov.bc.ca/apiculture/financial/fencing_applic.pdf

Comments

Program participants receive up to 33% of expenses for building fences, including materials and labour. The minimum pay-out is $100 and the maximum is $3000 for fences that meet required design specifications.

1.4.9 Interim Wildlife Damage Compensation Program

Who can apply?

Eligible applicants must have BC Assessment Farm Status and proof of land ownership and/or lease confirmation. You do not require crop insurance.

Description

This is a pilot program for cattle and forage producers whose unharvested forage crop intended for livestock feed has been damaged by wildlife.

Application process

Simple application form

Program end

No set end date

Contact

www.al.gov.bc.ca/production_insurance/Wildlife_Damage_Compensation_Program.htm

Comments

Because this is a pilot program, applicants may be able to negotiate some flexibility.

1.5 Grants for Farmers on Southern Vancouver Island

1.5.1 Green Seed Fund

Who can apply?

New and established farmers on Southern Vancouver Island

Description

This grant, which is partly funded by Vancity Credit Union, is specifically for building the food-growing capacity of individuals, partnerships, and cooperatives. Applicants can request sums from $100-$500. The fund prioritizes equipment/materials purchase, training, mentorship and networking.

Application process

Very simple
Application forms can be downloaded.

Program end

No set end date

Contact

Linda Geggie
linda@gworks.ca

www.lifecyclesproject.ca/initiatives/green_seed_fund/

Comments

This grant is pretty small but it’s no trouble to apply. Preference is given to applicants who demonstrate community benefit.

1.5.2 Island Chef Collaborative Farmer Grant program

Who can apply?

New and established farmers on Southern Vancouver Island

Description

These grants are geared toward farmers who are supplying the restaurant industry on Southern Vancouver Island. The amount of funding varies depending on the project. Farmers are invited to submit proposals to the ICC.

Application process

Very simple
Application forms can be downloaded.

Program end

No set end date

Contact

Ken Hueston
P.O. Box 8003, Victoria, BC, V8W 3R7
smokenb@telus.net
250-391-6328

Comments

This grant is very worthwhile because it’s no trouble to apply. It also helps bring new producers into the chef community andl help their marketing.

 

created by: Barbara Joughin