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Resources for budding (and established) farm businesses

Nebraska is well-known for its broad fields and herds of livestock, but it's also a place of opportunity for those who look beyond commodity crops. Specialty crops and niche markets can provide higher profits for smaller and startup farm operations.

In fact, smaller farms with those unusual crops and markets are a growing segment of agriculture in many states, according to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture.

Here are some resources for new farm businesses suitable for conventional farms as well as for the acreage owner, the second-career farmer, veterans, women, immigrants, and other beginning farmers and ranchers.


Nebraska Network for Beginning Farmers & Ranchers


Center for Rural Affairs' Farm Bill Helpline

Farm bill program questions

402-647-2100, ex. 1016

Center for Rural Affairs

Farm transition and startup advice

Nebraska Rural Response Hotline

Access to crisis services



UNL Returning to the Farm Course

Generation-focused financial and communication

Nebraska Farm Mediation Program

Mediation services; financial counseling for farm loans and farm transition planning


Farmer Veteran Coalition

Advises veterans who wish to farm on business

startup, management and planning



Community Banks

Agricultural financing and knowledge of local markets and advisors

USDA Farm Service Agency

Loans; new Microloan offers easier eligibility and applications

Nebraska's Beginning Farmer Tax Credit

Tax credit for landowners to rent to beginners

Nebraska Investment Finance Authority

Tax incentive for landowners who sell land or

other assets to beginners

Nebraska Advantage Tax Credits

Available for investment in livestock operations

CFRA Rural Enterprise Assistance Project

Loans and business advising to rural businesses

USDA Rural Development

Business grants & loans

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service offices

Advising and cost-share funding for conservation practices


UNL Extension Educators

Information, publications and links to specialists

Nebraska Department of Agriculture

Specialty crop farms for marketing

ATTRA, National Sustainable Agriculture Information

Publications on production & marketing; internship opportunities; organizations that sponsor farm tours and workshops

MOSES, Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service

Information about organic farming, personalized advising, and conferences

Nebraska AgrAbility

Connects farmers who have disabilities with many service providers to be able to farm safely and to perform daily tasks


About the Author

Wyatt Fraas
Farm & Community Program Assistant Director, Center for Rural Affairs

Wyatt works with farmers to find approaches for grazing, growing crops and marketing to make it possible to stay on the land. He lives with his wife outside of Coleridge, in northeast Nebraska, where they have sheep and a large garden.

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