FarmStart Program Approves 275th Investment to Support Beginning Farmers

Farm Credit’s 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 $12.7 million with over 275 agricultural and fishing entrepreneurs throughout the Northeast.

 

“The future of Northeast agriculture, commercial fishing and forest products industries is dependent on new entrants,” said Bill Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO. “That is why we initiated this innovative program more than a decade ago to meet the demands for capital and financial management skills that entrepreneurs need to get started.”

One of those recent investments was with J&S Brothers Farms LLC, in Mullica, NJ. J&S Brothers is owned by Jose and Salvador Constantino. The brothers have worked on farms for years, so when the opportunity to go from workers to farmers presented itself last year, they both decided to make the transition. They currently farm 200 acres of vegetables, including peppers, pickles, cucumbers, green and yellow squash, butternut squash, asparagus, and turnips.

The brothers turned to FarmStart after being denied other financing due to lack of experience running a business and production history. “The season was starting and we needed to get plants in the ground,” explained Jose. “We had already invested our own capital, so we just needed that additional bit to get everything in the ground and growing. The FarmStart investment provided that capital at the right time, and it was an incredibly simple process.”