Newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service: A project of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). This issue of ATTRAnews is available online.
Starting Out in Sustainable Agriculture
New farmers and ranchers today have access to a tremendous number of resources to help them with planning, securing land, and making a success of their operation. A few states and counties even provide special aid and enticements to encourage new farmers to settle within their borders. This issue of ATTRAnews looks at some of the ways beginning farmers and ranchers can find a place and learn to run it.
In this issue:
Tracy Mumma, NCAT Program Specialist
Tracy Mumma, her husband David Sturman, and their two children live and farm in Montana with the help of their Amish neighbors.
The National Farm Transition Network fosters the next generation of farmers and ranchers by introducing them to experienced producers who are ready to retire. More than 20 independent organizations belong to the network, representing California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Each of these Farm Link or Land Link groups has its own methods and priorities. To find the organization near you, contact network coordinator John Baker, firstname.lastname@example.org, or check the network Web site, www.farmtransition.org.
Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network runs a Farmer-to- Farmer Program that links experienced farmer-mentors with beginning growers. The program requires new farmers to pass on what they have learned to others. For more information, call 256-520-2400. www.asanonline.org/mentorprogram.htm
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project supports farmers and rural communities in the mountains of western North Carolina and the southern Appalachians with education, mentoring, promotion, and community and policy development. For more information: 828-236-1282. www.asapconnections.org
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association provides “farm incubators”—educational farms where new growers can lease a parcel of land and gain access to equipment and advanced knowledge without having to buy it. The program also offers business planning assistance. Contact Bryan Green, 919-451-9804, email@example.com. www.carolinafarmstewards.org/projects.shtml
The Food To Bank On program connects beginning sustainable farms in northwest Washington with training, mentors and market support while providing fresh high-quality food to Whatcom County’s hungry. Contact Shonie Schlotzhauer, 360-647-7093, x106, Shonie@sustainableconn ections.org. www.sconnect.org/foodfarming/ Food%20To%20Bank%20On
Georgia Organics’ Farmer Mentoring & Marketing program teams established farmers with new farmers to transfer knowledge and expertise in sustainable growing. The program provides in-depth workshops and training in production, marketing, and financial planning. For more information, call 678-702-0400. www.georgiaorganics.org/about_us/programs_projects.php
Idaho-Rural Roots supports sustainable and organic agriculture and community-based food systems in the Inland Northwest. Their Cultivating Success™ Program provides beginning and existing farmers with the planning and decision- making tools, production skills and support necessary to develop a sustainable small farm. www.cultivatingsuccess.org
The Intervale Center of Burlington, Vermont offers two programs for new farmers. The Intervale Farms Program leases land and facilities to small organic enterprises and provides technical support with other more experienced farmers. Success on Farms works one-on-one with state farmers to strengthen their businesses. For more information, call 802-660-0440. www.intervale.org
Iowa Beginning Farmer Center coordinates education programs and services for beginning farmer and retiring farmers. The center helps farm families develop skills in financial management and planning, legal issues, tax laws, technical production, leadership, sustainable agriculture, health, and the environment. Call 877-232-1999 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. www.extension.iastate.edu/bfc
Land Stewardship Project sponsors Farm Beginnings classes each fall in Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin In the winter participants learn goal setting, financial planning, marketing, and sustainable farming techniques from established farmers and other professionals. In spring and summer participants work with specific farmers and attend farm field days. For more information, call 651-653-0618. www.landstewardshipproject.org/farmbeg.html
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association operates a Journeyperson Program with hands-on, mentored training to help farmers find land and a situation where they can develop their business. The association also offers a Farmer-in- Residence Program at the 250-acre Common Ground Education Center in Unity, Maine. Contact Andy Marshall, email@example.com, 207-568-4142. www.mofga.org
Minnesota Food Association’s New Immigrant Farmer Project provides training for new immigrants and aspiring farmers in gardening, micro-farming, production farming, marketing, and land use planning. For more information, call 651-433-3676. www.mnfoodassociation.org/newimmigrant.aspx
New England Small Farm Institute offers information and training for aspiring, beginning, and transitioning farmers. Their Growing New Farmers program in Belchertown, Mass. provides services and resources for new farmers throughout the Northeast. For more information, call 413-323-4531. www.smallfarm.org, www.growingnewfarmers.org
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project helps immigrants and others with agricultural backgrounds to begin commercial agricultural enterprises in Massachusetts. Contact Jennifer Hashley, 617-636-3793, firstname.lastname@example.org. www.nesfp.org
National Immigrant Farming Initiative operates several programs for new farmers. New Farmer Development Project educates and supports immigrants in New York City with agricultural experience to become local producers and establish small farms in the region. Contact Michelle Hughes, 212-341-2256, email@example.com. www.immigrantfarming.org/index.php?page=New_Farmer_ Development_Project
Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership is a nonprofit organization that helps local agricultural enterprises achieve economic success. They create demand for locally produced agricultural products and provide business education to local agricultural enterprises. Contact Sarah Kelley, 508-295- 2212x50, firstname.lastname@example.org. www.semaponline.org
USDA Farm Service Agency offers two financing programs for land purchase by beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers. The new Farm Bill provides for the Land Contract Guarantee Program and the Direct Farm Ownership Loan Program. The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Land Contract Guarantee Program was created because traditional methods of farm entry and farm succession are no longer adequate to meet current challenges. This pilot program will explore whether land contract sales are a viable alternative for beginning farmers and ranchers. The pilot program will be available in Indiana, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Iowa. For more information, contact the local Farm Service Agency office. www.fsa.usda.gov
Tammy Hinman, NCAT Program Specialist
When you consider a rural enterprise, it’s vitally important to assess your goals, land, and resources. These considerations may help direct your research and save time and much needed energy for starting a new farm enterprise.
Identify Your Own Personal Values
What Are Your Personal Goals and
Vision for Your Property?
Assess Your Property
Workbooks and Useful Resources
From the Minnesota Institute for
Primer for Selecting New Enterprises for Your Farm, University of Kentucky. www.uky.edu/Ag/AgEcon/pubs/ext-aec/ ext2000-13.pdf
In addition to the publications on this list, ATTRA offers hundreds more—for beginning and experienced producers—that provide general information and specific details about all aspects of sustainable and organic agriculture. They’re available to download for free from ATTRA’s Web site, www.attra.ncat.org, or call 1-800-346-9140 to order a free paper copy.
Marketing & Business Management
New & Updated Publications
Rodale Institute’s Farming for Credit Directory lists colleges and organizations that offer classroom programs and hands-on training in sustainable agriculture. www.rodaleinstitute.org/ffc_directory
Educational and Training Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture is the 18th edition from the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center of the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland. For more information, call 301-504-6927. www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/edtr/EDTR2008.shtml
NCAT’s Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships Database lists U.S. farms that are looking for interns and apprentices. Listings include detailed information about the farm and the situation being offered. www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/internships/
Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) is a cooperative effort of local organic and biodynamic farms organized to enhance educational opportunities for farm apprentices.
Organic Volunteers. Find on-the-job learning opportunities in sustainable and organic agriculture by clicking on a map. www.growfood.org
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms offers an extensive international list of organic farms that welcome volunteer help. www.wwoof.org.
Film-maker and farmer Severine
Fleming is making a documentary film
about the growing number of young
people eager to supply fresh healthy
food to local communities (see www.thegreenhorns.net). Inspired by those
she meets, she has created a series of
Web and blog sites for them, so they
can see what their counterparts are
doing all across the country.
ATTRAnews is the bi-monthly newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. The newsletter is distributed free throughout the United States to farmers, ranchers, Cooperative Extension agents, educators, and others interested in sustainable agriculture. ATTRA is funded through the USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service and is a project of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), a private, non-profit organization that since 1976 has helped people by championing small-scale, local and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities, and protect natural resources.
Teresa Maurer, Project Manager
Comments? Questions? Email the Weekly Harvest Newsletter editor Karen Van Epen at .
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