The Kentucky State University Small-Scale Farm Grant Program

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 who want to further their farming and agricultural knowledge through educational trainings.

How do I apply for a Grant?

Applications will be available online soon or you can request an application from Joni Nelson (, Kevin Gurtowski (, or Allison Noel (

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.

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.

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

What is a Small-Scale Farm?

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.

What types of operations will the Grant Cover?

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

Aquaculture & Aquaponics

* Fish farming including assistance such as aerators, some pond preparations, harvesting equipment and more.
* Vegetable and/or fish production using recirculating systems (coupled/decoupled).

Certified Organic Agriculture

* Production-related implements, equipment, and supplies including broadfork, walk-behind implements, hand tools, irrigation lines, etc.

Value-Added Products

* Refinement or change of raw agricultural products to a new product of increased market value such as grains to bread or milk to cheese, soap, and lotions.
* Products may include jams, jellies, granola, candles, lotions, as well as cold storage for produce.

Food Insecure Area Production

* Produces or sells in one or more of the 77 eligible counties (see application).
* Does not qualify for other SSFG categories.
* Addresses one or more of the following: hydroponics, poultry/eggs, meats, small ruminants (excluding cattle and dairy cattle), or another unique project that will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Counties Eligible for Food Insecurity Program are: Food Insecure Counties

Map of Food Insecure counties. There are 77 eligible counties in Kentucky, including Adair, Barren, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Boyle, Breathitt, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Carroll, Carter, Casey, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Crittenden, Cumberland, Elliott, Estill, Fayette, Fleming, Floyd, Franklin, Fulton, Grayson, Greenup, Hardin, Harlan, Harrison, Hart, Henderson, Hopkins, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Madison, Magoffin, Marion, Martin, Mason, McCracken, McCreary, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Muhlenberg, Nicholas, Ohio, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Simpson, Taylor, Union, Warren, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe counties.


* Products may include sap syrup, mushrooms, honey, medicinal herbs, black cohosh, goldenseal, fruits, nuts, berries and silvopasture ruminant production (excluding cattle or dairy cattle production).
* Acquiring equipment and non-disposable supplies and materials related to the production, harvesting/collection, processing, storage and packaging of non-timber forest products.

Farmer Education Assistance

* Workshops, conferences, and online trainings.
* Lodging, mileage, and registration fees allowed.
* Reference materials.

Maximum Funding Amounts

  • 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.

General Project Guidelines

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.

The Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Small-Scale Farms brochure (click this link to download) explains the opportunities and the grant process.

Check back in February 2020 when new funding will be available

Don’t hesitate to contact me at 502-597-6831 or by email at if you would like someone to visit your farm or business to assist with identifying the best way to utilize the funds for improving your operation.

We look forward to working with you through next year’s grant process.

Joni Nelson
Extension Associate