Farm profitability is at the heart of any successful dairy business, whether a farmer is creating a succession plan or a producer is establishing a new business plan. To be profitable, farmers rely on access to affordable capital.

There are several state and federal loans and grants available that can help ensure the long-term profitability of dairy farm families.

State Loan Programs

  • Next Generation Farmer Loan Program – Using federal tax-exempt financing, the Next Generation Farmer Loan Program reduces a farmer’s interest rate for capital purchases such as the purchase of farm land, agricultural machinery or equipment. You must be a permanent Pennsylvania resident; be at least 18 years old at the time of the loan application; meet lender’s credit standards; have access to adequate working capital; and must not have had any prior ownership of a substantial portion of land. View program guidelines.
  • PA Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) – The PIDA provides low-interest loans and lines of credit for eligible businesses. A variety of different industry sectors are eligible for PIDA financing including agriculture. PIDA partners with a network of certified economic development organizations to administer the program, and package and underwrite loan applications. Learn more about the program.

For information on agriculture business loans, grant opportunities and cost-share programs, contact Laura England, Bureau of Market Development, PA Department of Agriculture, at; (717) 783-8462.

Federal Loan Programs

The Farm Service Agency provides family farms and beginning farmers across the nation with access to credit to help strengthen and expand their operations.

  • Direct Operating Loans – These loans can be used to purchase items such as livestock and feed, make minor improvements to buildings, or manage general farm operating expenses.
  • Microloans – These loans are designed to ease some of the requirements and offer less paperwork for small and beginning farmers. Specialty crop and niche-type operations may also benefit from microloans.
  • Direct Farm Ownership Loans – These loans can be used to purchase or enlarge a farm, construct a new building, or conserve soil and water for protection purposes.
  • Guaranteed Loans – These loans allow lenders to extend credit to family farm operators who do not qualify for standard commercial loans. Farmers can receive credit to finance their operations or expand their business.

Click here to learn more about these federal loan programs as well as specialty loans and targeted farm loans that are available through the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA).