The OEFFA Investment Fund is a project of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) working in partnership with the Sustainable Agriculture Fund, LLC. The purpose of the Fund is to promote sustainable agriculture in Ohio by making flexible and affordable capital available to farmers and farm-related businesses.
As of November 2012, the Fund has an initial capitalization of $500,000 for a pilot phase of this project.
Helping mobilize additional sources of capital is, for OEFFA and for everyone who supports a healthier food system, an unprecedented opportunity to build the supply and availability of local, sustainably grown fresh food in Ohio, enhance farm and farm-related business viability, and encourage expansion of ecological agricultural practices.
Eligible applicants must:
- Be OEFFA members in good standing
- Hold current organic certification for their operation or be able to demonstrate engagement in or support for sustainable agriculture practices throughout the lifetime of the investment
- Be located in Ohio
For more information see the application guidelines.
The OEFFA Investment Fund accepts applications for loans but will also consider alternative forms of investment such as land leases and equity investments. Typically, investments will range from $5,000 to $50,000 but requests for less amounts (minimum $2,500) and larger amounts (up to $250,000) will also be considered.
- Capital investments and expenses that improve efficiency, quality, or expand business production and sales
- Repairs necessary to maintain business operations
- Short-term operating needs, such as inventory, supplies, or labor for expansion
- Emergency funds to deal with business interruptions due to fire, natural disasters, or other unforeseeable events
- Other uses requested by applicants subject to the Fund’s Investment Committee approval
- The Fund's Investment Commitee will determine the interest rate and other terms. Term of loans will vary from seasonal (less than 1 year) to 1-5 years. There is no penalty for early payment.
- Interest rates vary from 5% to 9%. Target retum on other investment types will
be determined on a case by case basis.
- The Fund will generally require security in the form of personal guarantees, collateral of personal and farm assets, etc. If the credit is used for fixed assets, inventory, or receivables, the relevant items will be used as collateral to secure the investment. The Fund may also require a co-signer.
The application process consists of two steps:
A Preliminary Questionnaire must be completed to determine eligibility. In this step, applicants provide general information regarding themselves, their business, and their need for capital. Additional specific information about how the business supports the environmental, economic, and social goals of sustainable agriculture is required, unless the operation is currently certified organic.
If determined eligible based on the Preliminary Questionnaire, applicants will be invited to submit the Formal Application, which requires more specific business information including, but not limited to, detailed financial information and projections. Applicants will also submit a $50 application fee at this point in the process. A site visit or meeting with the Investment Committee may be requested prior to the Fund's Investment Committee making a final decision.
The full application guidelines are available here.
The Fund will start accepting applications on November 1, 2012, with first funding decisions expected in early 2013.
Please allow up to 15 business days to receive a response to your Preliminary Questionnaire.
If you are determined to be eligible based on the Prelimary Questionaire, applicants will be invited to proceed to a second stage. Formal Applications submitted by the first business day of each month will receive a response in the same month.
Our intent is to complete the process of reviewing complete applications in two months or less. Of course, incomplete, unclear, or deficient application information may delay that timeline.
Please explore the additional contents in the OEFFA Investment Fund Menu on the right hand side of this page.
For technical assistance with completing application materials, contact the OEFFA Investment Fund:
Call: (614) 636-3332 or (614) 63-OEFFA
For general information about the Fund, contact the OEFFA office at:
Call: (614) 421-2022 Ext. 202
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
41 Croswell Rd.
Columbus OH 43214
Phone: 614.421.2022 Fax: 614.421.2011