Small-Scale Farm Grant Program

Collage photo with fresh fruit, eggs, fishing, etc.

The Kentucky State University (KYSU) Center for the Sustainability of Farms and Families (CSFF) works to develop resources to provide assistance to small-scale farms. In partnership with the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund (KADF) and the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board (KADB), KYSU is able to provide these grants.

This program helps farmers who want to improve their farming operations, improve the marketability of their products with value-added enterprise, and further their farming and agricultural knowledge through educational trainings.

There are three programs: Small-Scale Farm Grant (with categories Value-Added Enterprise, Certified Organic Agriculture, Agroforestry/Specialty Crops, Food Systems Resiliency, and Emerging Agricultural Technologies), Beginning Beekeeper Program, and Farmer Education Program.


 The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a small-scale farm as one that sells less than $250,000 of agricultural products each year. Farmers who are motivated to improve their business and who can demonstrate the ability to document their successes will be considered.


Grant funds cannot be used for the following:

  • Motorized vehicles such as trucks, tractors, walk-behinds.
  • Labor costs paid to the applicant or their relatives.
  • Consumables or expendables such as jars, seeds, feed, trees, or plant materials.
  • Partial funding of equipment greater than $10,000. Up to $10,000 on a single piece of equipment requires verified matching funds up to $5,000.
  • Purchases made prior to grant approval are not eligible for reimbursement.

For the Farmer Education Program, education assistance applications must be submitted at least 30-90 days in advance of the conference/workshop, and you must secure your registration and lodging beforehand.


  • The maximum funds available per farm household or business is $5,000 per application with a lifetime maximum of $10,000.
  • Applicants may also be eligible for up to $500 for educational trainings or materials.

Complete the appropriate application:

On the application, please:

  • Describe plans for improving your business. Please note that your budget plan should overestimate expected expenses.
  • Describe who will do the work, when the work will be done, and the expected outcome.

If funded, receipts for your purchases must be submitted with detailed reports of the projected results.

With questions, please contact:

Applications are to be submitted via email or postal mail to:

Allison Noel
Kentucky State University
400 East Main Street
Frankfort, KY 40601


The Small-Scale Farm Grant is available for operations in the following priority areas:

Value-Added Enterprise

  • A value-added enterprise is the changing of raw agricultural products to a new product of increased market value (e.g., milk to cheese or lotions, grains to bread, etc.).
  • Small-scale, limited-resource farmers expanding the marketability of their agricultural products by a value-added process will be considered for this category.
  • Allowable items might include but are not limited to: cold storage, commercial kitchen equipment, appliances such as blenders, mixers, utensils, canners, ovens, etc.
  • Apply for the Small-Scale Farm Grant in the Value-Added Enterprise category here.

Certified Organic Agriculture

  • Verifiable documentation of Certified or Transitional or Exempt status is required with the application. Allowable items included production-related implements, equipment, or supplies such as Jang seeders, handheld tools, walk-behind implements, irrigation, etc.
  • Applications will be considered from organic farms currently certified by a USDA-accredited agency such as the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Organic Program and from farms registered with an accredited agency as Transitional or Exempt (i.e., all organic sales are through direct market channels and total less than $5,000 per year).
  • Organic applicants must understand and comply with federal laws regulating organic products.
  • “Organic” is a labeling term indicating that food or other agricultural products have been produced through methods approved by the USDA National Organic Program. These methods integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster the cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.
  • Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are not allowed.
  • If you have certification questions, please visit
  • Apply for the Small-Scale Farm Grant in the Certified Organic Agriculture category here.

Agroforestry/Specialty Crops

  • Equipment and non-disposable supplies and materials related to the production, harvesting or collection, processing, storage, and packaging of non-timber forest products such as tree sap syrup, mushrooms, honey, medicinal herbs, fruits, nuts, berries, and silvopasture ruminant production.
  • Excludes beef and dairy cattle.
  • Apply for the Small-Scale Farm Grant in the Agroforestry/Specialty Crops category here.

Food Systems Resiliency

  • Continues to promote the production, sale and consumption of healthy foods in all areas of Kentucky, particularly those that have high levels of food insecurity. If a farmer or producer accepts Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) SNAP payments, or if products are sold at a farmers market that processes EBT SNAP payments, they will be eligible to apply for a mini-grant to support improved crop and/or livestock production and value-added product development (including fruit and vegetable production, aquaculture, poultry or eggs, and small ruminant production; excludes meat cattle or dairy cattle).
  • Apply for the Small-Scale Farm Grant in the Food Systems Resiliency category here.

Emerging Agricultural Technologies (EAT)

  • The Emerging Agricultural Technologies category will support farmers and producers in implementing emerging and appropriate technologies and/or practices that enhance farm efficiency, improve management practices and increase overall sustainability of the farm. The category is designed for experienced farmers and producers with existing infrastructure and ongoing operations. The two areas of focus for the category are Controlled Environmental Agriculture and Precision Agriculture. Each area of focus includes a variety of practices.
  • Farmers interested in pursuing funding under the EAT category should reach out to determine project feasibility early in the application process. This category is designed for experienced farmers who are looking to improve already efficient systems of production in an effort to maximize resource allocation in their operations.
  • Apply for the Small-Scale Farm Grant in the EAT category here.


The Kentucky State University Beginner Beekeeping Program is a collaboration among Kentucky State University (KSU), Kentucky State Beekeepers Association (KSBA), the Kentucky Queen Bee Breeders Association (KQBBA) and local beekeeping groups. The objectives of the program are to help provide resources to beginner beekeepers, encourage participation in local beekeeping groups and to assist in improving the genetics of the Kentucky bee population. The overall goal of the program is to ensure that beginning beekeepers start with best practices to create more resiliency in local bee populations, which will lead to better pollinators for agriculture and improved biodiversity.

Individuals who are interested in applying for the KSU Beginner Beekeeping Program must meet the following criteria:

  • Satisfy eligibility requirements of the KSU Beginning Beekeeper program
  • Currently a member of a local Beekeeper Association and/or KSBA
  • Complete 6 Beekeeping Continuing Education Units (CEU) and submit verifying documentation (Courses can be free with a membership to the Kentucky State Beekeepers Association)
  • Submit regular progress reports on bee hive health, productivity and other observations
  • Commit to improving the genetics of Kentucky bees by agreeing to:
  • Purchase nucs/hives from local beekeepers and/or swarm trapping
  • Purchase queens with varroa mite resistant genetics

The beginner beekeeping kit covers the:

  • Basic hive box materials to receive nucs from beekeepers
  • Basic tools for beekeeping like smoker and hive tool
  • Basic personal protective equipment (PPE) for beekeeping like helmet and veil
  • Test kits for disease and pests such as European Foulbrood or American Foulbrood


Apply for the Beginning Beekeeper Program here.


The Kentucky State University Center for the Sustainability of Farms and Families (KSU-CSFF) offers an educational support program to support small-scale farmers/producers in the expansion of certain types of agriculture in Kentucky, especially among certain underserved groups. Grant funding decisions are based upon the impact expected on the production and sales of Kentucky-grown or Kentucky-raised farm products.

The following are eligible:

  • Farmers or producers interested in specific training to improve the marketability of their agricultural products.
  • Farmers or producers interested in new ventures that require training for on-site implementation.
  • Special considerations will be made for:
  • limited-resource farmers (annual household income of less than $23,000)
  • small acreage producers
  • female farmers
  • minority farmers
  • residents of USDA-designated food-insecure counties (see map on page 10)
  • SOAR county residents:
  • Grantees must comply with all health, food safety, and other federal, state, and local laws.
  • If you do not meet the eligibility requirements at this time, please contact Ms. Joni Nelson at or Mr. Kevin Gurtowski at
  • Kentucky State University employees and their immediate family members are not eligible.

Apply for the Farmer Education Program here.

We look forward to working with you through the grant process.

Joni Nelson