Ag Opportunities

Volume 25, Number 4
April 2014

Grants and Financial Assistance

Slow Money
Gateway HarVest, LLC is a food and farm focused investment club. They make direct, low interest loans to local enterprises that need a small sum to make a big impact on the growth of the St. Louis' sustainable food system and local economy.

About Us
They are a small group of individuals, inspired by the concepts of Slow Money, who came together with a common interest of investing our money into local businesses with a focus on food and farming. Their group will not exceed 12 members. If you are interested in joining Gateway HarVest, please email our Member Coordinator to find out if they are currently accepting new members.

The Loans
The loans will range from approximately $2,000 to $5,000, however, they will accept applications for other amounts. They are most interested in making loans for equipment or special projects that will help a farm or food business operate more efficiently and/or support growth. They expect that the borrower will clearly show how the equipment or project will affect the borrower's business and whether the project will be successfully completed using their loan by itself or in conjunction with other funding. They will consider working capital loans, especially those of lower costs. They will generally not fund start-up businesses.

Garteway HarVest is now Accepting Loan Applications. Download the application here.

Loan Criteria
They are looking for applicants with the following:

  • Food and farm focused mission.
  • Demonstrated business track record (they will not fund start-ups).
  • A focus on environmentally sustainable practices.
  • Demonstration of solid business related procedures and operations.
  • Sufficient cash flow to support the loan.

Loan Application and Approval Process

  1. Send them a completed loan application
  2. They will review the application and get back to you regarding missing materials or additional clarification.
  3. Review period which may require a field visit by one of our evaluation teams.
  4. Reference checking.
  5. Notification of approval or non-approval.

Gateway HarVest is one of four investment clubs in the US focused on making direct loans to food and farm businesses.

FACT's Fund-a-Farmer Project - Call for Applications!
Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) is now accepting grant applications from livestock farmers for its Fund-a-Farmer Project! The Fund-a-Farmer Project provides grants to qualifying humane farmers who need assistance in improving the welfare of their farm animals. Grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded for projects that (1) help farms transition to pasture-based systems, (2) improve the marketing of their humane products, or (3) more generally enrich the conditions in which farm animals are raised. Working, independent family farmers that raise pigs, broiler chickens, laying hens, dairy cows and/or beef cattle are eligible to apply for any of the three types of grants.

Projects involving goats and sheep are only eligible for marketing grants. Applications must be submitted online or postmarked by May 1, 2014 for awards made in August 2014. View guidelines and apply online at Contact Lisa at or 773-525-4952 with questions.

Rural Energy for America Program
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is a program that is authorized in the 2008 farm bill. The program can finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The maximum grant is 25% of the total project costs not to exceed $500,000 for renewable energy and $250,000 for energy efficiency projects. Eligible applicants include agricultural producers and small businesses. Residential projects are not an eligible use of program funds.

2014 Applications
The FY 2014 Federal Notice of Funding Opportunity for REAP has not been published. The proposed application deadline is April 30, 2014. It appears there will be approximately $12MM in grant funds and $12MM in guaranteed loan funds available this year nationwide. Additional grant/loan funds will likely become available with the recent passing of legislation.

The application materials can be accessed at the following link by inserting YOUR STATE's INITIALs for the XX in the following link: At the bottom of the page select the "Applying Click here" icon.

Please let me know if you would like further assistance. You would definitely want to contact your states USDA Rural Development office for further guidance.

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