Title 2

 

We are excited to announce a new partnership with the Montana Department of Agriculture, the Montana Food & Ag Development Centers, and the Community Food & Agriculture Coalition to offer mini-grants to specialty crop producers across Montana.

Mini-Grants have been fully expended for 2017. Please click here to sign up for our e-newsletter to be notified when mini-grant funds are available again in the future.

Goals

April.main LydiasBrocolliMoellerGrow and diversify the group of farmers participating in the state's specialty crop industry by removing hurdles to farmer entry into the market by helping farmers to:

  • Identify the right community resources to support them in business development
  • Access funding to start, expand, or enhance their specialty crop venture

Ultimately, we want the purpose of the grant to enhance your business, not just sustain it.

Applicant Eligibility

  • Beginning farmers (less than 10 years of experience). Other types of applicants may be eligible on a case-by-case basis (e.g. agricultural and food co-ops, schools, nonprofits, etc.).
  • Note: more established farmers will be held to higher standards in terms of the innovativeness of the planned project.
  • Crops: fruits, vegetables, peas and lentils, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture) - view the list of commonly considered crops for additional information.
  • Aquaponics and livestock may be considered as long as they are part of a specialty crop operation and the focus of the project is on the specialty crops and not the fish/livestock.
  • Eligible plants must be intensively cultivated and used by people for food, medicinal purposes and/or aesthetic gratification to be considered specialty crops.
  • Processed products shall include greater than 50% specialty crops by weight, exclusive of added water.
  • No collateral required.
  • No on-farm experience required.
  • Bankability will not be considered.

    ChadHarder Beans

Eligible Uses of Funds

Grant requests may range from $1,000 - $5,000; smaller grants are encouraged and average grant size is expected to be around $2,000. Note: the list below is not inclusive. If you have a project you're considering, email Annie Heuscher at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see if the project would fit.

  • Supplies: items with an acquisition cost less than $5,000
  • In limited occassions, special purpose equipment may be eligible (used only for technical activities), i.e. harvesters, vegetable washing machines, processing equipment, etc. when the total price (including acquisition or shipping) is less than $5,000.

 Ineligible Uses of Funds

  • Purchase of equipment (including tractors), buildings, or land
  • General purpose equipment, i.e. office equipment, vehicles, etc. (equipment that can be used for purposes other than specialty crop production)
  • Promotion or packaging supplies for a single farm or business entity
  • Others as outlined by the Specialty Crop Block Grant program

Example Projects (not to be considered priorities)

  • Trees, seeds, other plant stock and supplies (may be purchased without insurance)
  • Supplies to build innovative on-farm equipment or infrastructure that directly enhances specialty crop production
  • Innovative projects that will bring new information and ideas to Montana's specialty crop producerschard and onion2

How to Apply:

 

Mini-Grants have been fully expended for 2017. Please click here to sign up for our e-newsletter to be notified when mini-grant funds are available again in the future.

 

Follow-Up

A key element of this mini-grant program is in the follow-up stage. CFAC will conduct a follow-up conversation with each grantee within a couple of months and will use pictures, designs, videos, and info from the conversation to develop project success stories that will be shared locally and nationally to enhance the specialty crop industry. These success stories will be made available electronically on the CFAC, Farm Link, and MDA websites and in print formats.

 

FSA CFAC Logo

 

We are thrilled to announce a new collaborative project with the USDA Farm Service Agency to provide one-on-one, personalized technical assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers. We can offer:

  • Introductory sessions to learn about your business needs and share information about financing opportunities and requirements
  • Business coaching in developing marketing, financial, business, and/or financing plans for your business
  • Assistance with completing and submitting financing applications to the Farm Service Agency

These services are available to beginning farmers and ranchers, with a specific focus on small-scale, diversified, or direct marketing operations in Western and Southwest Montana.

To find out if these services would work for you, contact:

Western Montana (Lincoln County to Beaverhead County):

Annie Heuscher - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Southwest Montana (Gallatin County to Yellowstone County):

Tammy Howard - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Field Days Title

We have five fantastic locations for field days this summer!  Our field days are geared towards people who are just at the beginning of their farm exploration - interns, folks thinking about starting a farm in the near future, and those who are just getting started.  Of course, beginning and established farmers and ranchers are welcome, too!  Did we mention all the field days are FREE?!

Each field day is farmer led so they vary in topics and times based on the farmers' areas of expertise and availability.  To best assist the farmers in hosting a successful field day, we ask that you register at least three days in advance, or by the Sunday prior to the field day.  Walk-ins are still welcome, but we'd greatly prefer to have a good estimate of numbers in advance.  Thanks for your help with that!

Click Here to Register for 2017 Field Days!

Please note that field days include potlucks. 

Directions will be emailed to you a few days prior to the event.

 

Wednesday, May 25th: Growing for a Farmers' Market

Ploughshare Farm, MoiesePloughshare

5pm - 7pm, followed by a potluck dinner

Ploughshare Farm operates a diversified farm on 18 acres in the Moiese Valley, raising chickens, dairy goats, alfalfa, and a wide array of vegetables. Nicole Jarvis and Cale Nittinger sell their produce at the Missoula and Polson Farmers' Markets and through the Western Montana Growers' Co-op and via that experience, they have gained a great depth of knowledge over the past eight years about how to successfully grow for a farmers' market. Nicole will discuss crop planning, harvest, and other preparations and will host an interactive demonstration around the aesthetics and functionality of setting up an effective farmers' market booth. Learn more about Ploughshare Farm through their Homegrown profile and this great Farm-to-School video from MMFEC. Please register by Sunday, May 22nd.

 

Tuesday, June 14th: Starting an Organic Orchard and Vineyard

Spindrift Orchard and Vineyard, Polson

4pm - 6pm, followed by a potluck dinner - stay for a swim at the state park after!Spindrift

In 2014, Kristen Von Doersten planted her first cherry trees and grape vines and she is excited to share everything she's learned over the past three seasons. From managing 160 grape vines of four different varietals and 270 cherry trees (also four different varietals) to preparing for USDA Organic inspections and certification, Kristen will cover it all. If you've considered managing your own long-term fruit operation, this will be not-to-miss! Please register by Sunday, June 12th.

 

Tuesday, July 19th: Vegetable Seed Production

Good Egg Farm, Moiese

5pm - 8pm, followed by a potluck dinner

GoodEgg

This field day will be at Good Egg Farm, but will be hosted by both Good Egg owner, Leslie Kline, and Deluge Farm owner, Victoria Werner. Both farms grow seed for Triple Divide Seed Co-op and contract for multiple other companies, along with the rest of their production for farmers' markets and the Western Montana Growers' Co-op. Victoria and Leslie will cover how and why to grow seed on your farm, the importance of high-quality seed, and integrating seed growing with vegetable production. They will also share a seed-cleaning demonstration and showcase Good Egg's seed stock for onions, parsnips, carrots, and more. To learn more about Good Egg Farm, visit their Triple Divide Seed page and to learn about Deluge Farm, visit their website. Please register by Sunday, July 17th.

 

Tuesday, August 9th: Growing (Almost) Weed-Free Onions

PEAS Farm, Missoulagarden city harvest logo

2pm - 4pm, followed by a potluck dinner

The PEAS Farm is one of four urban farms managed by Garden City Harvest and is operated in collaboration with UM's Environmental Studies program. The PEAS Farm offers CSA shares of vegetables and flowers and donates thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables to the Missoula Food Bank each year. Over the past 14 years, farm director Josh Slotnick has been working to find ways to limit weeds in his onions. He also has learned a lot about farming with community. Josh will talk about both of these topics and share tools for improving onion-growing on your farm. For more info on the PEAS Farm, click here. Please register by Sunday, August 7th.

 

Tuesday, September 6th: Resource Management on a Diverse Livestock Operation

Tucker Family Farm, Victor

2pm - 6pm, including a potluck dinner

Tucker

In 2012, Tyler and Kendra Tucker bought 84 acres in the Bitterroot Valley and launched their highly successful ranch and creamery. They raise delicious pigs using methods they studied in Germany and grass-fed dairy lambs some of whom are sold for meat and some of whom are kept and milked for their growing cheese business. Their cheese is sold at farmers' markets and grocery stores throughout the region, as well as through the Western Montana Growers' Co-op. Clearly, Tyler and Kendra do a lot of juggling to manage all of the different aspects of their farm. Tyler will talk about how he manages resources and keeps all of the balls in the air. Learn more about Tucker Family Farm on their website. Please register by Sunday, September 4th.
 

 

This work is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2015-70017-22851.

Powerpt usda nifa horizontal rgb 300

CFAC logo new

+

KIVA LOGO RGB

 

 

Kiva loans are:

  • Social Impact Investments, meaning participating businesses have a positive impact on their communities
  • Crowdfunded, meaning anyone on earth can lend money - from $25 to $10,000
  • 0% Interest, meaning lenders do not gain an additional return beyond what they lent
  • Zero Fees, meaning that neither Kiva nor CFAC charges any fees for this service
  • Up to $10,000, although borrowers are encouraged to apply for smaller amounts
  • For terms from 6 months to 36 months, depending on your loan amount
  • Grace periods up to six months are available. Grace periods are requested while your loan is being reviewed by Kiva.

How Does CFAC Help?

As a trustee, CFAC can endorse your loan application, making it more likely that you will be successful in your fundraising. Endorsed loans are more likely to be fully funded and are more likely to be funded faster! We endorse up to five borrowers at a time through an online application process.

Download the full application (pdf|doc). We recommend working through the questions before starting your online application.

Note that our review process takes roughly two weeks and Kiva's review process for your loan takes roughly one week. Whenever we can get back to you more quickly, we will! You can expect that the full process, from endorsement application to full funding will take 1-2 months.

Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have not received an email from CFAC within 3 business days.

For more information on how to be endorsed by CFAC, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

ApplyforEndorsement

More Info for Borrowers:

  • While you have up to 30 days to fundraise, U.S. farmers that work with a trustee on Kiva typically complete their fundraising much more quickly and so far, have a 100% success rate at getting their loans funded!
  • Requirements:
    • Loan must be for a commercial enterprise, i.e. must be producing income, not a homestead
    • Borrower is encouraged to be a CFAC member (Your membership helps us to make the program sustainable so we can continue to offer this service into the future. Memberships start at $25 and if you're borrowing less than $2,500, we're happy to discuss lower membership rates.)
    • Borrower must be over 18 years of age
    • Borrower must have a PayPal account (or the ability to create one)
    • Borrower must not currently be in bankruptcy, foreclosure, or under any liens - past bankruptcy or foreclosure will not disqualify you from participation
    • Borrower must demonstrate that they have the character and ability to repay the loan
    • Loan must have a positive social impact and improve Montana's local food system in some way
  • Calculate your loan request: Visit http://borrow.kiva.org/ and scroll down to view the loan calculator
  • When you set up your Kiva loan, you will go through a private fundraising period before you enter the public fundraising period. Learn more here.
  • View Kiva's Frequently Asked Questions
  • Check out a slideshow on Kiva's borrower process
  • Visit Kiva's super hub with resources for borrowers, including this great piece about the six key best practices for your loan application

 

More Info for Lenders:

Field Days Title

We have five fantastic locations for field days this summer!  Our field days are geared towards people who are just at the beginning of their farm exploration - interns, folks thinking about starting a farm in the near future, and those who are just getting started.  Of course, beginning and established farmers and ranchers are welcome, too!  Did we mention all the field days are FREE?!

Each field day is farmer led so they vary in topics and times based on the farmers' areas of expertise and availability.  To best assist the farmers in hosting a successful field day, we ask that you register at least three days in advance, or by the Sunday prior to the field day.  Walk-ins are still welcome, but we'd greatly prefer to have a good estimate of numbers in advance.  Thanks for your help with that!

 

Click here to register for any of the field days below!

Please note that some field days are potlucks.  Directions will be emailed to you upon registration.

 

Wednesday, May 25th: Growing for a Farmers' Market

Ploughshare Farm, MoiesePloughshare

5pm - 7pm, followed by a potluck dinner

Ploughshare Farm operates a diversified farm on 18 acres in the Moiese Valley, raising chickens, dairy goats, alfalfa, and a wide array of vegetables. Nicole Jarvis and Cale Nittinger sell their produce at the Missoula and Polson Farmers' Markets and through the Western Montana Growers' Co-op and via that experience, they have gained a great depth of knowledge over the past eight years about how to successfully grow for a farmers' market. Nicole will discuss crop planning, harvest, and other preparations and will host an interactive demonstration around the aesthetics and functionality of setting up an effective farmers' market booth. Learn more about Ploughshare Farm through their Homegrown profile and this great Farm-to-School video from MMFEC.

 

Tuesday, June 14th: Starting an Organic Orchard and Vineyard

Spindrift Orchard and Vineyard, PolsonSpindrift

4pm - 6pm, followed by a potluck dinner - stay for a swim at the state park after!

In 2014, Kristen Von Doersten planted her first cherry trees and grape vines and she is excited to share everything she's learned over the past three seasons. From managing 160 grape vines of four different varietals and 270 cherry trees (also four different varietals) to preparing for USDA Organic inspections and certification, Kristen will cover it all. If you've considered managing your own long-term fruit operation, this will be not-to-miss!

 

Tuesday, July 19th: Seed-Saving

Good Egg Farm, RonanGoodEgg

5pm - 8pm, followed by a potluck dinner

This field day will be at Good Egg Farm, but will be hosted by both Good Egg owner, Leslie Kline, and Deluge Farm owner, Victoria Werner. Both farms grow seed for Triple Divide Seed Co-op and contract for multiple other companies, along with the rest of their production for farmers' markets and the Western Montana Growers' Co-op. Victoria and Leslie will cover seed-saving advice, how to identify seed quality, and why to grow seed for your own particular climate or growing space. They will also share a seed-cleaning demonstration and showcase Good Egg's seed stock for onions, parsnips, carrots, and more. To learn more about Good Egg Farm, visit their Triple Divide Seed page and to learn about Deluge Farm, visit their website.

 

garden city harvest logo

Tuesday, August 9th: Growing (Almost) Weed-Free Onions

PEAS Farm, Missoula

2pm - 4pm, followed by a potluck dinner

The PEAS Farm is one of four urban farms managed by Garden City Harvest and is operated in collaboration with UM's Environmental Studies program. The PEAS Farm offers CSA shares of vegetables and flowers and donates thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables to the Missoula Food Bank each year. Over the past 14 years, farm director Josh Slotnick has been working to find ways to limit weeds in his onions. He also has learned a lot about farming with community. Josh will talk about both of these topics and share tools for improving onion-growing on your farm. For more info on the PEAS Farm, click here.

 

Tuesday, September 6th: Resource Management on a Diverse Livestock Operation

Tucker Family Farm, Victor

Tucker

2pm - 6pm, including a potluck dinner

In 2012, Tyler and Kim Tucker bought 84 acres in the Bitterroot Valley and launched their highly successful ranch and creamery. They raise delicious pigs using methods they studied in Germany and grass-fed dairy lambs some of whom are sold for meat and some of whom are kept and milked for their growing cheese business. Their cheese is sold at farmers' markets and grocery stores throughout the region, as well as through the Western Montana Growers' Co-op. Clearly, Tyler and Kim do a lot of juggling to manage all of the different aspects of their farm. Tyler will talk about how he manages resources and keeps all of the balls in the air. Learn more about Tucker Family Farm on their website.
 

Click here to register for any of the above field days!

This work is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2015-70017-22851.

Powerpt usda nifa horizontal rgb 300

Donate button

Double your impact button
Strategic Plan button