Funding Sources for Farms and Food Businesses

Access to capital can be a challenge for most small businesses including agribusiness.


Below are capital resources that are available to provide funding support specifically for agribusinesses in North Carolina.


Your local agricultural extension agent is your first stop.  Click here to find your local office.

North Carolina Growing Together (NCGT)


North Carolina Growing Together (NCGT) Food and Farm Financing Guide for Farm and Food Businesses - This comprehensive guide is designed for producers, food businesses, and small business assistance providers. It provides an overview of financial assistance, technical assistance, and business planning resources available in North Carolina from state, federal and local agencies and non-profits

NC Tobacco Trust Fund (NCTTFC)

The NC Tobacco Trust Fund (NCTTFC) was established in 2000 by the N.C. General Assembly to help members of the tobacco community including farmers, tobacco workers and related businesses. Its original funding was established through tobacco industry annual payments as a result of the Master Settlement Agreement. Funding is now appropriated to the NCTTFC which then reviews, selects and disperses the funds to grant projects.


NC Agriculture Finance Authority (NCAFA)

The North Carolina Agricultural Finance Authority (NCAFA) was established by the North Carolina General Assembly to provide credit throughout North Carolina. NCAFA originate, finance and service loans for persons operating family sized units for agricultural production and agricultural exports.

Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC)

Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC) Capital Resource Guide - The SBTDC in cooperation with the SBA as developed this comprehensive Guide to Financial and Capital Resources for Small Business in North Carolina.

Farm Plus Financial

Farm Plus Financial specializes in providing agriculture real estate based farm loans ranging from variable rate loans, to fixed rate loans, to lines of credit that may be used for farm operating and expansion purposes.  Our real estate based farm loans are used to achieve a variety of financial goals such as debt consolidation, refinancing your current farm loans, expansion of your farm operation, or to acquire new farm property.

AgCarolina Farm Credit

AgCarolina is a member of the Farm Credit System, the largest provider of credit to American agriculture. As a member-owned financial services cooperative, we provide farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses with the greatest opportunity for success through low-cost financing and exceptional service.

AGAmerica Lending


When you need a North Carolina land loan, join forces with AgAmerica Lending. We are the land loan experts with experience in financing Ag operations both large and small across the Southeast. Whether you farm tobacco or raise broilers, turkeys, or hogs, the team at AgAmerica can fit you with the right loan or credit line to grow your business.


Rural Investment Foundation International (RAFI USA)

RAFI’s Agricultural Reinvestment Fund grant program assists entrepreneurial and innovative farmers and collaborative groups in developing new sources of agricultural income. This grant program has funded more than 600 farming projects and distributed more than $6 million in funds to agricultural communities.

In partnership with the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, the Agricultural Reinvestment Fund awards grants of up to $9,000 to individual farmers and up to $11,000 for collaborative farmer projects located in North Carolina. We award at least 25 grants per year.


Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF)

Carolina Small Business Development Fund provides financing solutions and guidance to help entrepreneurs achieve their business goals. If you are looking to start or expand your business, we offer loans that are designed to meet your needs. Additional support resources include:


Live Oak Bank

Your Farm Starts at the kitchen table! Live Oak Bank’s team of Agriculture experts are here to guide you through the process of starting or updating an existing poultry farm. We know your business and will travel nationwide to discuss your financing options.

Whether you are looking to finance the construction of a new poultry house, purchase an existing poultry farm, or retrofit your current houses, the poultry farm loan process is the same.

Farmer Veteran Coalition

Farmer Veteran Coalition - We cultivate a new generation of farmers and food leaders, and develop viable employment and meaningful careers through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. We believe that veterans possess the unique skills and character needed to strengthen rural communities and create sustainable food systems. We believe that agriculture offers purpose, opportunity, and physical and psychological benefits.

Cape Fear Farm Credit

Cape Fear Farm Credit - We service the credit needs of part and full-time farmers, as well as the mortgage credit needs of rural homeowners. Federally chartered and a part of the national Farm Credit System, we are locally owned by our customer-owners. As we work together, we can help you achieve your goals and dreams, while strengthening our communities.

Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) works with lenders to provide loans to small businesses. The agency doesn’t lend money directly to small business owners. Instead, it sets guidelines for loans made by its partnering lenders, community development organizations, and micro-lending institutions. The SBA reduces risk for lenders and makes it easier for them to access capital. That makes it easier for small businesses to get loans.

US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

US Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Farm Service Agency, provides direct and guaranteed loans to beginning farmers and ranchers who are unable to obtain financing from commercial credit sources. Each fiscal year, the Agency targets a portion of its direct and guaranteed farm ownership (FO) and operating loan (OL) funds to beginning farmers and ranchers.

If you're new to farming and want to start a farm, start here. The New Farmers website offers a wealth of information and resources on how to start a farm, making a business plan, access to land and capital, risk management, taxes, safety, and more! Or take the shortcut and use the Discovery Tool where you can answer a few questions to get personalized information.

Beginning (Funding Resources for Beginning Farmers)

Beginning - Funding Resources (Loans and Grants) are often crucial to starting a new farm business. This link contains comprehensive information about finding financial help for starting your farm business. It is also important to be aware that farm business planning is usually an essential component for obtaining funding, for either loans or grants for farm enterprise.

National Council of State Agricultural Finance Programs (NCOSAFP)

The National Council of State Agricultural Finance Programs (NCOSAFP) is an association of public and private agricultural financing entities working passionately for the promotion and financing of agricultural development. Our mission is to facilitate communication and education for our members and represent the interests of agriculture in developing legislation, regulation, and other issues affecting public agricultural finance in cooperation with private industry.


Natural Capital Investment Fund

Natural Capital Investment Fund finances and advises small to mid-sized enterprises, primarily in rural and underserved communities across a nine-state region which includes North Carolina. We help innovative entrepreneurs build locally owned enterprises that create lasting jobs and community wealth, while using natural resources responsibly.

North Carolina Community Development Initiative Fund

North Carolina Community Development Initiative Fund - Small Business Relief Funding – Matthew, wildfires, Tropical Storms Julia and Hermine:


Small businesses in any NC county affected by these disasters may be eligible for loans to help with recovery. Please see our Resilient-Communities:Smallbiz Flier  for more information.


Self Help Credit Union


Self Help Credit Union is a family of two credit unions, a nonprofit loan fund, and an advocacy group. We are also a designated community development financial institution. That means our members enjoy all the benefits of belonging to a credit union while also supporting our larger mission to expand opportunities for underserved communities.


Shade Fund


Shade Fund - Farmers and landowners who are committed to using farmland sustainably and are looking to gain some additional capital to grow their business are eligible for loans from ShadeFund, a new initiative launched by The Conservation Fund and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities.


Shade Fund pools donations from individuals, foundations and corporations to make loans that help small green businesses grow and thrive. Targeted sectors include: sustainable agriculture; eco- and agro-tourism; sustainable forestry and forest products; non-timber forest products; and small-scale biomass and renewable energy.


Slow Money NC

Slow Money NC  - Let’s fix the economy from the ground up, starting with food.Do you believe that your health, the economy’s health and the environment’s health would all be significantly improved if there were a million new small and mid-sized organic farms in the United States?  Join in and get started!


Carolina Farm Credit

Carolina Farm Credit - Whether you are a farmer or just want to live a country lifestyle, Carolina Farm Credit can help with loans and services for farms, homes, agribusinesses and more.


Western North Carolina Ag Options Grant

Mission of Western North Carolina (WNC) AgOptions: Building sustainable farming communities in the NC mountain region by providing grant resources directly to farmers who are diversifying or expanding their operations.


Grant Resource Programs (Compiled by ASAP)

Grant Resource Programs (Compiled by ASAP) - ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food.

Our vision is one of strong farms, thriving local food economies, and healthy communities where farming is valued as central to our heritage and our future. This link provides information regarding available grant resources specifically for agribusinesses.


Business Expansion Funding Corporation (BEFCOR)

Business Expansion Funding Corporation (BEFCOR) is pleased to participate in the Golden LEAF Loan Program. Initially capitalized by a generous grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation, this program, called BEFCOR Small Business Loan Fund (SBLF), assists businesses in eastern North Carolina that have been adversely impacted by the decline in tobacco production industries.

SBLF loans are available in areas that show potential for strengthening North Carolina’s long-term economy, especially rural communities that have been tobacco-dependent or that are economically distressed. Priority for lending is placed on defense industry-related businesses but consideration is also extended to small businesses engaged in manufacturing, light manufacturing, assembly, logistics and warehousing, engineering, software development and food processing.

The Farmers Guide to Agricultureal Credit

The Farmers Guide to Agricultureal Credit - This guide is aimed at helping farmers get ready to ask a lender for the financing needed in new and innovative ventures. When used as part of an overall enterprise development strategy, it can help farmers and lenders achieve mutually beneficial results when they sit down to do business.

Mountain Bizworks

For 27 years, Mountain BizWorks has been providing small business loans to help businesses in Western North Carolina launch and expand. Our loans range from $1,000 to $250,000, and we focus on entrepreneurs who have trouble-securing funding from banks and other traditional sources.

NC Rural Center

The NC Rural Center delivers critical resources to support existing businesses and enable the emergence of successful, new entrepreneurs. The Rural Center works with individuals trying to start or expand a small business by connecting them to critical capital, coaching, and connections they need.

Rural communities will prosper only to the extent they can build and sustain a strong private sector. The Rural Center believes equitable economic growth across our state depends on sustaining rural small businesses and nurturing small-town entrepreneurs.

National (support resources for farmers with disability)

The vision of National is to enhance quality of life for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities, so that they, their families, and their communities continue to succeed in rural America. For this target audience, "success" may be defined by many parameters, including: gainful employment in production agriculture or a related occupation; access to appropriate assistive technology needed for work and daily living activities; evidence-based information related to the treatment and rehabilitation of disabling conditions; and targeted support for family caregivers of AgrAbility customers.