Agriculture is critical to the success of Wisconsin, contributing billions of dollars annually to the state’s economy.
Read more about the organizations supporting rural agriculture as well as grants and other programs providing financial assistance those that feed us.
Wisconsin Farm Center
Since the mid-1980s, thousands of farm families have turned to the Wisconsin Farm Center, which provides services to farmers, often in cooperation with university, government, or private-sector resources. Services include financial and business consulting; succession and transition planning; conflict, legal, and financial mediation; veterinary diagnostic analysis; technical expertise to veterans who are interested in farming; and mental health counseling and support. All services are free and confidential.
USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
New to farming? Want to learn how to start a farm? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can help, with offerings that include business plan consulting, mentorship, farm loans, crop insurance, conservation programs, and disaster assistance. Farmers and ranchers who have been operating for less than 10 years are eligible for assistance.
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities—all in support of small and midsize family farms.
Marbleseed, a nonprofit organization based in Spring Valley, Wisconsin, was established in 1995 to support farmers in the Upper Midwest who want to operate sustainable, organic farming systems that are ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially just. Marbleseed provides small and midsize farms with mentorship, networking, and mental health peer support. Marbleseed also hosts the largest organic farming conference in the U.S.
Emerging Crops Accelerator
The Emerging Crops Accelerator aims to strengthen the vitality and resilience of Wisconsin agriculture through the development of new crops, new products, and new markets. Established in 2021, the accelerator is a collaboration of UW-Madison faculty and UW Extension educators from around the state who are engaged in germplasm development, agronomic research, and the market and supply chain development needed to empower growers to adopt these crops.
Wisconsin Farmers Union
Wisconsin Farmers Union is committed to enhancing quality of life for family farmers and rural communities through educational opportunities, cooperative endeavors, and civic engagement. The organization has been working since 1930 to support family farmers.
Wisconsin Farm Technology Days
Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is a three-day outdoor event showcasing the latest developments in production agriculture, including practical applications and recent research and technological developments.
Grants and Programs
Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program
Administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection,, the program will build resilience across the food supply chain, provide markets to small farms and food businesses, support the development of value-added products for consumers, work for fair prices and fair wages, and create new and safe job opportunities. Sign up to receive updates about this program.
USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
CRP is a land conservation program administered by the Farm Service Agency. In exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality.
Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Grants
The Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin competitive grant program is designed to strengthen Wisconsin’s agricultural and food industries by working to reduce the marketing, distribution, and processing hurdles that impede the expansion of sales of Wisconsin’s food products to local purchasers. The program provides matching grants to help farms and businesses distribute their products in local stores, schools, and institutions.
Meat Processor Infrastructure Grants
The meat processing grant program aims to grow Wisconsin’s meat industry and improve the long-term viability of the state’s livestock industry. Eligible applicants must operate or intend to operate a DATCP or USDA licensed meat-processing establishment in Wisconsin and be engaged in livestock harvest or processing. Projects must increase harvest capacity or production.
Specialty Crop Block Grants
Wisconsin nonprofit organizations, producer organizations, government agencies, universities and other agricultural groups can apply for Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds. The grants are to be used to benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole, rather than providing direct profit to a specific organization, institution, or individual. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture.