ENFIELD, Conn. — Farm Credit’s FarmStart program is pleased to announce the approval of its 300th investment. FarmStart is a unique program that invests working capital of up to $75,000 in northeast agricultural, fishing and forest products ventures showing promise of success. Since the first investment approved in August 2006, FarmStart has invested more than $14 million with over 300 entrepreneurs throughout the Northeast.
The program’s 300th investment was to Whitemarz Farm in Lunenburg, Mass. Owner Jorge Marzuca began farming on his family’s broccoli operation in Mexico when he was a child. Recently, he moved to Massachusetts to start his own vegetable operation.
“We grow over 40 different vegetable varieties that we sell at multiple farmers’ markets,” said Jorge. Whitemarz Farm also offers a Community Supported Agriculture program, or CSA, for members of the community to purchase part of the harvest in advance of the growing season. Currently, the farm’s CSA has about 40 participants.
Due to Jorge’s lack of production history, he would not have been approved for traditional lines of credit. However, through his involvement in the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, which has also been supported by Northeast Farm Credit AgEnhancement, he heard about FarmStart. “The program had a course about obtaining financing, and one of the first programs mentioned was FarmStart,” said Jorge. “It was very easy to apply and a fast process to get financing.”
With his FarmStart investment, Jorge was able to purchase a plastic mulch layer and equipment for his tractor to assist with weeding. He now has more time to focus on other aspects of his business.
“Farm Credit East has a long-term commitment of helping individuals get started in farming, forest products and commercial fishing,” said Bill Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO. “We recognize the demands for capital and financial management skills that can make it difficult to establish a new business, which is why we initiated the FarmStart program more than a decade ago to provide the capital and support these entrepreneurs need to get started.”
FarmStart, LLP is a joint initiative of Farm Credit East, Yankee Farm Credit and CoBank to fulfill Farm Credit’s long-term commitment to support a vibrant, entrepreneurial northeast agricultural community. FarmStart participants complete a business plan and monthly cash flow budget to serve as a roadmap for their startup business. In addition to the financial investment, a FarmStart advisor works with each participant to help the new business stay on track toward achieving business objectives.
For more information on FarmStart, visit FarmCreditEast.com/FarmStart.
–Farm Credit East