Take the First Step and Apply to Win $10,000 

Are you looking for grant funds to start or grow your farming business? Horizon Farm Credit is hosting the second annual JumpStart grant program for beginning farmers. The JumpStart grant program is an annual grant designed to support the growth of the next generation of farmers and facilitate their entry into farming. Applying is as easy as submitting your Business Plan, completing our free Ag Biz Basics course and submitting your application!


Applications will be accepted from June 1-July 31, 2023 at 4 pm EST.

JumpStart Logo

Grant Program Information


Applicants must fit the following criteria:

  • Must be a beginning farmer with two years or less experience or planning to start farming in the next two years
  • Reside in Horizon Farm Credit's territory
  • Current Farm Credit customers and non-customers are eligible to apply
  • Must be 18 years of age or older as of July 31, 2023
How do I know if I qualify as a "startup" farm business?

For purposes of the JumpStart grant, we are considering startup farmers and farm businesses to be those that have started their operation within the last two years or plan to start within the next two years. We are strictly adhering to this definition.

If you are a beginning farmer returning to a family operation, you must be starting a new venture or enterprise to be considered a startup farmer.

Startup farmers may be full or part-time farmers.

How to Apply

Click on the link to apply. To reference a sample of the online application, please click here

Fill out the application form and attach the following required documentation:

Please note that the application will NOT save your progress and it is recommended to have everything prepared, prior to hitting the submit button. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

How will Applications be Judged?

An independent panel of qualified judges, made up of industry representatives, will review all of the written applications and select up to 15 recipients.

Each application will be evaluated based on the following criteria to achieve a score out of 100 possible points:

Written Application:

  • Essay: Personal Background: 10 points
  • Essay: Business Development: 10 points
  • Essay: Financial Character: 10 points

Business Plan:

  • Business Overview: 15 points
  • Business Management and Organization: 15 points
  • Marketing Strategy: 15 points
  • Financials: 15 points

Overall Application:

  • Spelling and Grammar: 10 points
  • Total: 100 points


How to Register for Ag Biz Basics

Follow the steps in the registration guide linked below to enroll or if you've already completed the program, indicate on the application. Reach out to learning@horizonfc.com with any questions.


Do I need to live in Horizon Farm Credit's territory to be eligible?

Yes. Click here to check your eligibility.

How do I know if I qualify to apply for the JumpStart Grant Program?

Eligible applicants must be a beginning farmer with two years or less experience or planning to start farming in the next two years and reside in Horizon Farm Credit’s territory. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, as of July 31, 2023.

How many awards will be presented?

Up to 15 $10,000 awards.

Are there any restrictions for use of the grant funds?

Grant funds must be used for agriculture purposes to support your farm business within two years of receiving the grant. Fund use examples include tractors, equipment, livestock and farm operating expenses. You may also use funds for startup services including business planning, legal fees or other startup costs.

Grant recipients will be required to complete a grant acceptance agreement upon receiving the grant, indicating that they will use the funds appropriately.

What's involved in Ag Biz Basics?

Ag Biz Basics is the online learning series that is required as part of the grant application. The program includes four modules that take approximately 30-60 minutes each to complete.

Ag Biz Basics is FREE to grant applicants. The coupon code is Jumpstart2023 when registering for Ag Biz Basics to enroll at no cost. You will simply need to have Ag Biz Basics fully completed by July 31, 2023 at 4PM. Farm Credit will track completions in cooperation with Farm Credit University which offers the course.

Ag Biz Basics contains four learning modules:

  1. Side by Side with your Lender - Financial Documentation, Planning & Goal Setting
  2.  Do you Cash Flow? Cash Flow Planning - putting your production plan in numbers
  3. What are you Worth Financially? Business and Personal Balance Sheets
  4. Did you make a Profit? Income Statement

Click here to access the registration guide.

Are the funds taxable?

Yes, the grant money is taxable. Please consult your tax advisor for more information.

Who do I contact if I have additional questions?

Contact our JumpStart Grant Program Administrator, Johanna Rohrer at learning@horizonfc.com or 888.339.3334.

What should be included in your business plan?

Horizon Farm Credit has a business plan template that you may use. You may use another business plan format if you prefer. Business plans must include the following details:

  • Business Overview: Objective, Description, Target Audience, Mission Statement
  • Business Management and Organization: History, Organization, Strengths & Weaknesses, Implementation Timeline, Goals, Risk Management
  • Marketing Strategy: Industry Outlook, Market Share, Income, Marketing
  • Financials: Balance Sheet or Projections
I previously completed Ag Biz Masters. Do I still need to complete Ag Biz Basics?

No, if you fully graduated from the two-year Ag Biz Masters program, the Ag Biz Basics requirement is waived for your grant application. However, if you only partially completed Ag Biz Masters, you are required to complete Ag Biz Basics to be eligible for the grant. 

For proof of graduation, please contact learning@horizonfc.com

How do I register for Ag Biz Basics?

Visit Farm Credit University and follow the steps in the registration guide. Please use the code Jumpstart2023 to waive the class fee. After registering, if you do not see an email in your inbox within one to five minutes be sure to check your Spam/Junk folder. 

 You will simply need to have Ag Biz Basics fully completed by the July 31, 2023 at 4PM. Horizon Farm Credit will track completions in cooperation with Farm Credit University, which offers the course. 

Is there anyone not eligible to apply?

Officers, Directors, and employees of the Sponsor, Horizon Farm Credit, and their subsidiaries, affiliates, their agents, press/media representatives, and the immediate family members of these entities are not eligible to enter. Family is defined as an individual and spouse and anyone having the following relationship to either: parents, spouse, son, daughter, sibling, stepparent, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, grandparent, grandson, granddaughter, and the spouse of the foregoing and/or those living in the same household of each, whether or not related, and are not eligible to enter.

Who will judge and evaluate my application?

An independent panel of qualified judges, made up of industry representatives, will review all applications.

Can I apply as a single applicant? Can I apply as a co-applicant?

Yes, you can apply as a single applicant or you can apply with a business partner. The application should only reflect those efforts of the named applicants.

Are past winners eligible to apply?

Past JumpStart Grant and Farmers on the Rise Award winners are not eligible to apply.

When will winners be notified?

Winners will be notified in early September and invited to a ceremony on September 13, 2023.


2021 JumpStart Grant Winners

Check out the 2021 Winners!