What resources are available for beginning farmers?
Answer: There are a tremendous number of resources to help beginning farmers and ranchers with planning, securing land, and making a success of their operations. As the premier source of sustainable agriculture information, ATTRA offers important resources for beginning farmers and ranchers and people who work with them. Some of our resources for beginning farmers are listed below.PlanningFor information on business planning and farm profit, see the ATTRA publication Planning for Profit, at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=382. This introductory publication discusses some basic questions that will help you plan for profitability. Understanding your financial capability, your costs of production, and the potential profitability of alternative ways to market products are examined. A list of additional resources is included for further study.Another resource that may be helpful for beginning farmers is the ATTRA publication Evaluating a Farming Enterprise, available at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=277. There is a growing movement within the United States to get back to the land?to start developing hands-on, land-based careers. The faces of new farmers vary widely, from young college graduates to others who are starting a second career or simply retiring into farming. Those in second careers often own land and need help developing an enterprise that works with their property and goals. Those who have recently graduated still want to make a go of farming but often have the added challenge of not owning land. Determining what to grow and how to sell it are the first steps in starting a farm-based business. This publication will help the reader take these important first steps.Funding The ATTRA publication Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers, available at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=381, lays out several financing options available to beginning farmers to start a farm and to illuminate the step-by-step process of applying for a loan. Small- and medium-scale sustainable farmers and those new to the world of finance are the target audience for this publication. The intention is to help these readers consider a range of options for raising capital and reducing expenses involved in starting a farm, with a bank or government loan as just one tool, albeit an important one, in a whole toolkit of creative possibilities.If you are a beginning farmer (that is, you have not been farming for more than 10 years but have worked at a farm for three years or more), there are Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans for beginning farmers. For more information, see http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=fmlp&topic=bflThe ATTRA publication Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities, available at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=279,is written for anyone seeking help from federal programs to foster innovative enterprises in agriculture and forestry in the United States. Specifically, the guide addresses program resources in community development, sustainable land management, and value-added and diversified agriculture and forestry. Thus, it can help farmers, entrepreneurs, community developers, conservationists, and many other individuals, as well as private and public organizations, both for-profit and not-for-profit.For a list of additional funding opportunities for farmers, see https://attra.ncat.org/calendar/funding.php?tempskin=_rss2. To find non-ATTRA resources available for beginning farmers, see https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/local_food/startup.html#nonattra.