Breaking news just hours old could change things dramatically for those who want to grow hydroponic food crops for their local market. If you or someone you know is ready to dive in but just lacks funding, the solution is now available.

Hydroponic training for vets has led to entrepreneurship. Now specialty hydroponic startups might be eligible for microloans from the USDA.The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the availability of low-interest loans for those who want to supply their community with food that was grown locally. Applicants can receive up to $35,000 in working capital. While this isn’t enough to start up a traditional farm where big tractors and lots of land is required, it is sufficient to get a hydroponics operation off the ground.

Since this is a loan, and not a grant, it would be really wise to do the research necessary to reveal the truth in how big the market is and what the actual demand is for different fruits, vegetables, greens and fish. Surveying local markets and restaurants to develop a plan for a ready and waiting group of buyers is definitely worth the foot work. You will want to know for sure you can pay this loan back. Many a family farm has been seized for non-payment of USDA loans, so keep it real and only borrow what you must absolutely have to get growing.

Locating the space to set up your grown local hydro farm would also be something you should give serious consideration too. If you don’t have the room at home, you’ll need to find a suitable place to house your operation. Naturally, keeping the facility as close to the buyers as possible is wise. The less transportation cost, the better and you will still want to lessen the carbon footprint in and around the area.

The new program launched on January 15, 2013. Funding for this new locally grown food initiative are called ‘microloans’ and are designed for beginning and small farmers with traditional, niche and specialty operations. Hydroponic farming is definitely both a niche and specialty type of operation, especially if you are growing organic produce. Put away your credit cards and get more details from the and the Farm Service Agency website. Applications for those who meet eligibility requirements are being taken via your local FSA office.

U.S.D.A. press release

Image courtesy of  USDAgov

Tammy Clayton

Tammy Clayton

Content crafter and Senior Editor at Garden Culture Magazine
Tammy has been immersed in the world of plants and growing since her first job as an assistant weeder at the tender age of 8. Heavily influenced by a former life as a landscape designer and nursery owner, she swears good looking plants follow her home. (Some feel she's got a perennial obsession, others say the problem is tomato plants.)

If you don't find her at the desk - check the gardens. When not writing and weeding, she enjoys a good book, painting junk furniture, and blending the harvest of heirloom tomatoes and chiles into salsas.
Tammy Clayton

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