The 2024 application is closed. All applicants will be contacted in late May.

JumpStart is a new and beginner farmer grant program from Horizon Farm Credit. Each year we award up to 15 farmers a grant of $10,000 to help get them started on their agricultural journey.

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Who is eligible for JumpStart?

Applicants looking to apply for the JumpStart grant must fit the following criteria:

  • Is a new or beginning farmer with two years or less experience or planning to start farming in the next two years (see eligibility FAQs for rules for family farms)
  • 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 by the application close date

How to apply for the JumpStart farmer grant?

In order to apply for JumpStart, you'll need to:

  • Fill out an application. There are two parts:
    • Contact information
    • Series of Essays
  • Create a business plan. You can find an example business plan here.
  • Complete Ag Biz Basics course. Ag Biz Basics is a required, self-paced online course on financial literacy in the agricultural industry.

If you have questions regarding your application, please contact for assistance.

How will JumpStart 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 150 possible points:

Written Application 
Background15 points
Project Plan Funding Request50 points
Project Plan Budget5 points
Business Plan 
Business Overview20 points
Business Management and Organization20 points
Marketing Strategy20 points
Financials 20 points
Total150 points


JumpStart FAQ's

If you're looking for a beginner farmer grant to help offset your start-up costs, we've got you covered. Here are the answers to some of the most common JumpStart 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. 

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. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older by the application close date.

Incomplete applications will not be accepted or contacted. 

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. 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

If you have questions regarding the Ag Biz Basics course, please contact

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 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

Not sure where to start? Click here to request a replay of our How to Write a Business plan webinar.

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

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.

If you apply as a partnership and are selected as a recipient, the cash prize will be awarded to the primary applicant.

Are past winners eligible to apply?

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

How will applicants be notified?

All applicants will be notified in late May. All 2024 winners will be invited to our Beginning Farmers Achievement Night on June 25, 2024 in Frederick, Maryland.