The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association facilitates investing in agriculture. From their website:

The OEFFA Investment Fund accepts applications for loans but will also consider alternative forms of investment such as land leases and equity investments. Typically, investments will range from $5,000 to $50,000 but requests for less amounts (minimum $2,500) and larger amounts (up to $250,000) will also be considered. As of November 2012, the Fund has an initial capitalization of $500,000 for a pilot phase of this project.

PERMITTED USE OF FUNDS

  • Capital investments and expenses that improve efficiency, quality, or expand business production and sales
  • Repairs necessary to maintain business operations
  • Short-term operating needs, such as inventory, supplies, or labor for expansion
  • Emergency funds to deal with business interruptions due to fire, natural disasters, or other unforeseeable events
  • Other uses requested by applicants subject to the Fund’s Investment Committee approval

 

TERMS

  • The Fund’s Investment Committee will determine the interest rate and other terms. Term of loans will vary from seasonal (less than 1 year) to 1-5 years. There is no penalty for early payment.
  • Interest rates vary from 5% to 9%. Target return on other investment types will be determined on a case by case basis.
  • The Fund will generally require security in the form of personal guarantees, collateral of personal and farm assets, etc. If the credit is used for fixed assets, inventory, or receivables, the relevant items will be used as collateral to secure the investment. The Fund may also require a co-signer.

 

WHERE TO START

The application process for the OEFFA Investment Fund consists of two steps:

Preliminary Questionnaire must be completed to determine eligibility. In this step, applicants provide general information regarding themselves, their business, and their need for capital. Additional specific information about how the business supports the environmental, economic, and social goals of sustainable agriculture is required, unless the operation is currently certified organic.

If determined eligible based on the Preliminary Questionnaire, applicants will be invited to submit the Formal Application, which requires more specific business information including, but not limited to, detailed financial information and projections. Applicants will also submit a $50 application fee at this point in the process. A site visit or meeting with the Investment Committee may be requested prior to the Fund’s Investment Committee making a final decision.

The full application guidelines are available here.