GreenStone Farm Credit Services is proud to announce the expanded program for young, beginning, and small farmers – CultivateGrowth. CultivateGrowth is designed to support the diversity of modern agriculture through tailored financial and educational support initiatives.
GreenStone has already been working with young, beginning, and small farmers for over 100 years, and the new program services will benefit even more agricultural individuals for the future.
CultivateGrowth launches a brand new loan program specifically designed for this community. The CultivateGrowth Emerging Loan has simpler, more relaxed standards, providing a financing option to some customers who may not have previously been able to qualify for a loan at any financial institution. Coupled with the new loan program remains the financing options young, beginning and small farmers have been benefiting from for decades. As a result, more customers will be able to obtain financing for their dream agricultural businesses.
As agriculture is a rapidly changing, diversifying industry, GreenStone has prioritized its support by providing customers with learning opportunities. Those members in the Emerging Loan program can also earn a reduced interest rate after completing a slate of educational activities, like financial training, educational conferences, tax and accounting services, mentorship programs, and more.
To help provide producers with many of the educational opportunities and support necessary for success, GreenStone is also once again committing up to $40,000 annually to young, beginning, and small farmers through CultivateGrowth Grants. Grants are available for the reimbursement of many of the activities and resources that will help them learn and grow their business – including educational opportunities and business-related services like farm consultants and GreenStone’s accounting and tax services.
In order to prepare the next generation for success, GreenStone is also working to connect producers through the CultivateGrowth Mentorship. Through this partnership, new and experienced farmers are paired to help share industry knowledge, pass along on-farm lessons, and help equip them for the challenges of the agricultural industry.
“It’s always been our priority at GreenStone to support young, beginning, and small farmers in Michigan and northeastern Wisconsin,” said Dave Armstrong, former GreenStone CEO and president. “We’re confident these new elements, paired with our century of support for these customers, will continue to bring a diverse and modern approach to our industry. We warmly welcome farmers of all types to begin a successful, long-lasting partnership with GreenStone.”
Young, beginning, and small farmers each have a standard to qualify, and customers can meet one metric that aligns with the federal definitions: young farmers are those under 35 years of age, beginning farmers have less than 10 years of farming experience, and small farmers experience less than $250,000 gross farm income per year.