The United States government offers grants to individuals and businesses for a number of reasons: to help families in need, develop an action or service meant to benefit society or improve the condition of the nation as a whole, for example. One of these supported actions helps aspiring farmers purchase land to work on, with the expectation that the development of the land needs to have a positive public purpose. In the right circumstances, government grants can offer money to purchase land or an opportunity to obtain and develop the land itself.
Land Grants by Definition
A land grant is different from a financial grant, in that the U.S. government awards the land itself to an entity for a specific purpose. Historically, land grants were used in the 1800s and 1900s to found schools, which are now known as land grant universities. Land grant universities are colleges whose job it was to help retain and promote agricultural and industrial good practices. The land was offered by the government for the purpose of education, and states were expected to use the land to found educational institutions.
Video of the Day
Land grants were also given to individual entities interested in homesteading in the late 1800s, which took the available land and turned it into productive farmland with the option for the grant recipient to purchase it after a period of time.
However, there's very little unowned land remaining in the U.S., so land grants as they existed then would have little purpose now in 2021. Instead, the focus has shifted toward better using public and private land to improve farming methods and ecological footprints.
Financial Grants for Land Work
Things have changed in the U.S. – these days, land grants have a different focus. Now, the government's focus is on protecting natural wildlands, especially endangered wetlands. They will provide financial grants specifically for the restoration and protection of endangered environments across the country. These grants are rewarded to projects designed to enhance conservation efforts on private land, usually with an eye toward endangered species.
In addition to this, the government also offers money to farmers looking toward sustainable practices, the conservation of endangered wildlife, eco-friendly methods of farming and creating small farms with the aim of continuing their operations in the shadows of large agriculture corporations. There are additional grants offered to traditionally disenfranchised cultural groups – Hispanic, Black, Native American and Asian – who have been forced from their land in the past and have culturally different ways of approaching farming. Members of these disadvantaged groups can apply for grants that go toward education and training to help establish their farms.
In addition to grants, the government offers loans with reasonable terms to help potential farms in need of assistance. Most of these loans come with stipulations with regard to what the money can be spent on; the loan must be paid back over time, however, it can help provide a fledgling farm with an injection of capital to make improvements.
Finding Government Grants for Land Purchase
The U.S. government uses Grants.com to provide an easily searchable database of available grants alongside educational information to help individuals and entities understand how grants work and how they can apply.
You can search the database using relevant terms like "farming," "agriculture," "wildlife preservation" or terms related to an issue specific to your hometown. Available grants will provide you with directions on how to apply.