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Unlock relief payments with CFAP application tool
Producers are not shy in sharing how frustrating it can be to navigate through farm grants and loans to unlock funding opportunities.
“They want to better understand their grant and loan options, to access more affordable options, and to reduce the stressful and time-consuming paperwork farm finance requires,” says Jayce Hafner, who grew up on an Angus cattle farm in Virginia and worked in environmental policy and farmland investing.
Built on hundreds of conversations with farmers, ranchers, and land managers, Hafner, along with Sami Tellatin, created FarmRaise – a platform that makes it easy for farmers to know their funding options and to access the funding they need.
The female entrepreneurs, who met in graduate school at Stanford University, take the eight-plus forms and 200-plus fields of information required for popular government grants and streamline them into a simplified, digital application.
“We eliminate jargon and complicated paperwork and save the producer time and stress, so he can focus on his core operation,” Hafner says. “Our platform is intuitive and integrated; each time a producer enters information, he or she is saving time on future applications.”
Among one of the first tools launched is a simplified application for the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Farmers who successfully unlock CFAP relief payments will not be charged a fee.
“We’ve mapped over 50 federal grant programs and will launch a more comprehensive offering in July 2020, at which time farmers can register free accounts with FarmRaise,” says Tellatin, an environmental engineer from Missouri who began her career at the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program and the University of Missouri Extension.
By creating an account with FarmRaise, farmers gain 1:1 access to a team member as well as streamlined, integrated applications for several public and private funding opportunities. Account holders will be able to save all of their work, and each application they fill out will make the next one faster and easier.
“If a farmer successfully unlocks a grant, he or she will pay a small fee to FarmRaise,” Hafner says. “We only get paid if the farmer gets paid.”
Alongside the company’s July launch, FarmRaise is piloting a program in Iowa and Minnesota to integrate state-level funding programs into the eligibility quiz, funding library, and application support tools. Farmers who adopt early in those two states will have even more customized options available to them.
Broader Funding Options
FarmRaise is also cultivating partnerships with private agriculture investors and lenders, including funders for on-farm conservation practices, to broaden the funding options on its platform. “We aim to partner with funders who have the farmer’s best interests in mind, offering affordable capital on farmer-friendly terms,” Tellatin says.