Farmers’ Guide to Innovative USDA Programs and Resources

Today’s farmers are changing the way we farm and eat in this country. Folks starting out in farming today are:

  • From both rural and urban areas, and everywhere in between
  • Conscious of their impact on the environment and interested in learning how to protect natural resources on their farms
  • Pursuing new markets and selling both fresh and value-added products directly to consumers, wholesalers, restaurants, schools, and food hubs
  • More likely to be female, a person of color, and/or have served in the U.S. military
  • More likely to consider diversi cation options, comprehensive conservation systems, and organic farming practices

FSA-Guide to Sustainable Farming Programs Dec 2016

Click image to download pdf copy.

USDA recognizes the needs of farmers of all kinds, and has worked hard to improve federal resources so they work for all farmers. It has also reached out to farm organizations like the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) to help with outreach to an increasingly diverse constituency for USDA programs. NSAC worked with USDA to produce this guide, and has also been very involved in the creation of the programs included in the guide.

This guide is for anyone who is farming – or thinking about getting into farming – whether you’re a beginner or just looking to try something new.

How To Use This Guide

This guide details the dozens of USDA programs that have been created to help farmers succeed. Programs are broken down by agency (see page 26 for a description of what each agency does), and each page provides helpful information on who’s eligible, what a program helps farmers do, and where to go to get more information. Not sure what you’re looking for? Start with the handy chart on pages 4-5.

All of this information can be found on the online Farmers’ Guide portal at

Happy Farming!

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