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Farm Start-Up

The term "beginning farmer"—defined by USDA as those who have been operating a farm or ranch for less than 10 years—includes people who are merely considering farming as a career, those in the early years of farming, and growers who are fine-tuning a well-established farm business. Regardless of where you fall along this continuum, you've come to the right place. The publications, success stories, and links on this page will help you find an internship program, learn practical farming skills, evaluate farmland, choose a farming enterprise or business structure, develop a marketing plan, write a business plan, and get the financing you need.

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⇒ ATTRA Resources for Beginning Farmers

internship directory

Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships

A directory of on-the-job learning opportunities in sustainable and organic agriculture in the U.S. (and some in Canada) has been published since 1989 as a tool to help farmers and apprentices connect with each other. Anyone can browse the listings for free. As a subscriber, you can build a personalized listing to connect with internship seekers. The listed farms are primarily seeking interns/apprentices from North America. Go »

Self-Instruction Courses

Farm Business Planning & Marketing for Beginners This introductory-level course will help you develop a basic business and marketing plan to meet your farm goals and includes information about small livestock production. Most lessons are provided in English and Spanish. Getting Started in Farming: an Introductory Course in Farm Business Planning A more advanced course for those who have already decided to start farming, this course helps you anticipate personal and financial challenges and create a written business plan. University of Arkansas—Division of Agriculture Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program A modular learning program with separate lessons on poultry, small livestock, agroforestry, business development, and farm safety. Agricultural Risk Management - English and Spanish Curriculum User-friendly and non-traditional training in risk management, including lessons on identifying goals, marketing, managing money, planning for multiple markets, and contracts and regulations. The trainer's manual is in English while the participant's manual is offered in both Spanish and English.

Beginning Farmer Case Studies

Abanitu Organics ~ Roxboro, North Carolina - 14:08 Ayrshire Farm ~ Pittsboro, North Carolina - 6:02 Edible Earthscapes ~ Moncure, North Carolina - 8:37 Fickle Creek Farm ~ Efland, North Carolina - 12:28 Root Down Farm ~ Orange County, North Carolina - 9:25 Tumbling Shoals Farm ~ Millers Creek, North Carolina - 12:08

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