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Cottage-scale financing for new facilities

Posts: 1285
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
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I have a friend who's interested in making the move from an unlicensed goat lady to a Grade A dairy, the only kind that is legally allowed to sell raw milk in our state. (WA)
The current facilities are a wooden milking stall in a canopy shed; they would need complete replacement.

Her land is paid off, she was considering trying to get a loan on about the same payment schedule as she used for the land originally.

Her bank says she has no credit history, not surprising as she's been mostly using cash and a savings account to avoid bank fees.

Any tips for the self-sufficient micro-farmer about how to find funding for upgrading facilities?

- Building a credit history?
- Building up from a personal or family-scale operation without taking on debt?
- Agencies that specifically target small agricultural businesses for grants or loans?
- Ditto women entrepreneurs (I know everyone says "it's easier to get financial backers for women-run businesses" but if you are about to say that, pony up with a link or phone number!)

-Erica W
Posts: 101
Location: Okanogan County, WA
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Farm Service Agency often has loans for ag business, specifically for cases when a commercial loan is not available or not affordable.
Posts: 3537
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Make sure she understands how it will affect her property taxes. A "commercial" building can give you a shocking bump in your property taxes, more than the loan payment!

How many goats is she wanting to milk? Both for scale of building and the size of the loan. The refrigeration equipment gets expensive fast, and it is really hard to find small equipment used.

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