I recently was injured and obtained a permanent disability. Where can I obtain funding to buy equipment and production inputs that I need to keep farming?
- Listed below are federal and state government-related entities that either provide or can work with you in seeking out low-interest loans and/or grants for purchasing agricultural equipment and production inputs. Vocational Rehabilitation is of particular interest, since they often provide grants for equipment modifications to help people with disabilities to continue farming.
• Farm Service Agency (both funding and assistance). Nearly every county in the U.S. has an FSA office. Check the local phone book, or call FSA national headquarters @ 202-720-2791 to obtain the phone number of your state or county FSA office. On the Web—go to www.fsa.usda.gov and click on "State Offices," then on your state on the U.S. map, then on "County Offices," and finally on your county on the state map.
• Small Business Administration (both funding and assistance). By phone—call the federal office @ 800-827-5722 to obtain your state office or nearest branch office phone number. On the Web—go to www.sba.gov and click on “Contact,” then on “Find Your Local SBA District Office,” then on your state on the U.S. map, and finally on the nearest branch-office city.
• Vocational Rehabilitation, Services, etc. (titles vary by state) (both funding and assistance). By phone—look in the yellow pages under "Government, State" or in a separate section in front of the white pages that lists state government offices. On the Web—National AgrAbility Project: Vocational Rehabilitation contact information. It is unlikely that Vocational Rehabilitation agencies will fund the purchase of large new equipment but may assist with the cost of modifying currently owned or newly purchased large equipment to make it accessible.
• Cooperative Extension Service (assistance only). By phone—look in the yellow pages under "Government, County" or in a separate section in front of the white pages that lists county government offices. On the Web—go to www.csrees.usda.gov and click on your state on the U.S. map, then on your county on the state map.
• Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (both funding and assistance). By phone—call the SARE national office @ 202-720-5384 to obtain the nearest SARE regional office phone number. On the Web—go to www.sare.org and click on "For Farmers & Ranchers" for information about grants for established farmers who want to work with an education entity on a research project.
- Check out the "Toolbox," which is a CD-ROM and on-line catalog of commercial and farmer-modified equipment and assistive devices for farming with a disability. Your county Extension office and local high school agricultural education teacher should have a copy of the CD to view (perhaps borrow), or you can access it (in pdf format) at www.bngtoolbox.info.