Beginning Farmer ‘Plan Your Farm’ Hub
Find tutorials & worksheets to help guide you through writing a business plan, videos of experiences farmers giving advice and up close production techniques, and many other useful resources! http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/plan-your-farm/
The Farm School’s Learn to Farm Program
Now in its 14th year, the Learn to Farm Program is a state licensed, full time, 5 day/week, live-in, tuition-based training program that packs a tremendous amount of training and experience into a year and turns out graduates who go on to farm successfully. Forestry, animal husbandry, carpentry, mechanics, business planning, marketing and organic vegetable production are among the practical skills that are introduced and then practiced over all four seasons in the context of a commercial operation that includes a working forest, a 200 member veggie CSA and a 50 member meat CSA. http://farmschool.org/learntofarm/
The Greenhorns’ Guide for Beginning Farmers
The Greenhorn’s Guide is a unique resource for young, beginning farmers. The goal of the publication is to help young people make the transition into a career of farming. It is a clearly organized compilation of references about farming, providing information about anything from where to find an apprenticeship to how to preserve food and how to repair a tractor. One important aspect of the guide is that it seeks to forge a connection between young farmers and older farmers who are more experienced and can act as mentors. www.thegreenhorns.net.
USDA’s New Website for New Farmers
The USDA has unveiled the New Farmers website, including in-depth information for new farmers and ranchers on how to increase access to land and capital, build new market opportunities, participate in conservation opportunities, select and use risk management tools, and access USDA education and technical-support programs. The website also features case studies about beginning farmers who have successfully utilized USDA resources to start or expand their business operations. https://newfarmers.usda.gov/
Cultivating the Next Generation: Resources and Policies to Help Beginning Farmers Succeed in Agriculture
This American Farmland Trust publication reports on state programs and federally funded programs for beginning farmers and profiles 12 beginning farmers. Finding, affording, and negotiating appropriate farmland to lease or own was the greatest overall challenge beginners reported, and the publication suggests ways to address this challenge. http://www.thegreenhorns.net/wp-content/files_mf/1408037155cultivating.pdf
Cultivating the Next Generation: Resources and Policies to Help Beginning Farmers Succeed in Agriculture
Interested in starting your own, economically successful small scale farm? Calypso Farm and Ecology Center offers a fun, intensive Farmer Training Program that includes all aspects of ecological agriculture as well as farm business planning and hand skills such as black-smithing, wool processing, mechanics, building, food preservation, natural alignment and injury prevention and more. We are accepting applications for the 2017 season now! Click here for more information: http://www.calypsofarm.org/
New Farmer Webinars
The University of Vermont’s New Farmer Project is holding a series of monthly webinars which are based on suggestions from beginning farmers like you. Each webinar combines a presentation from an expert with lots of opportunities to ask questions and interact with the presenter and other participants. They are free and are held on the second Thursday of the month from 7 to 8pm. Additionally, the webinars are recorded and posted on the website, so you can also view it later when it’s convenient for you. To participate in this series all you need is an internet connection and a computer you can hear sound through. The type of computer or operating system you use doesn’t matter. A broadband connection to the internet is helpful but not required. Just click on the webinar title to join to the session. It’s good idea to visit the webinar site a few days before the scheduled session to make sure you have the appropriate software and web connection. Then, just click the link to the webinar’s virtual room about 15 minutes before the start time. http://www.uvm.edu/newfarmer/?Page=webinars/index.html&SM=webinars/sub-menu.html.
Farm Financing Webinar: Organizing and Understanding Your Numbers
This ATTRA (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service) webinar is aimed at helping beginning farmers become familiar with basic accounting techniques and organizational strategies. Topics include: understanding financial statements, assessing profitability and financial viability, record keeping, and more. To view the video and other ATTRA webinars visit: https://attra.ncat.org/video/.
Beginning Farmer Progress Tracking: NOFA-NY Core Competency Tracking Tool
This new NOFA-NY tool is part of NOFA’s initiative to support the skills and development of beginning farmers. The tool is a way for beginning farmers to reflect on their current farm learning activities and how to seek out future opportunities. For more information about the tool, visit: http://www.nofany.org/progress.
Farm Hack: A Community for Farm Innovation
The site Farm Hack seeks to encourage farmers to “learn, innovate and collaborate better,” by providing an online forum and blog as well through events that bring farmers together. The organization is focused on farm innovation and facilitating the sharing of ideas between farmers, especially geared toward new farmers. http://www.youngfarmers.org/practical/farm-hack/.
Online Blog for Young Farmers
A new blog, called Freshman Farmer – New Organic Farms Set Roots features posts that document the lives of beginning organic farmers from New York to California. Many posts include specific, transparent information about crop plans, revenues, nuts and bolts of starting a CSA, and many other important tips. You’ll also get a multi-media look at these bloggers farms through instructional videos and photo albums. http://www.freshmanfarmer.com/.
Hudson Valley Farm Beginnings Courses, Workshops, and Field Days
Hudson Valley Farm Beginnings® has been developed by farmers for farmers. Aspiring and current farmers, transitioning farmers, second career farm entrepreneurs, and landowners interested in developing farming enterprises are all welcome to register for courses and workshops. http://hawthornevalleyfarm.org/place-based-learning-center/vocational-programs/farm-beginnings/
Beginning Farmer Network of MA Website
BFNMass (Beginning Farmer Network of MA) has launched a website providing resources, including blog posts, farming event logs, and more, for beginning farmers throughout Massachusetts. Check out the new MA site at http://www.bfnmass.org/.
National Incubator Farm Training Initiative (NIFTI) Materials
From sample curricula, to farmer leases and manuals, to site management protocols, NIFTI’s library contains a wide range of tools related to best practices for beginning farmers. Explore the brand new Farm Incubator Toolkit, a comprehensive guide to starting and operating land-based beginning farmer training programs. http://nesfp.nutrition.tufts.edu/food-systems/national-incubator-farm-training-initiative/training-materials
Roots Memphis Farm Academy is a NIFTI affiliated training and incubator program that focuses on sustainable growing practices for new farmers. Roots Memphis Farm Academy supports beginning farmers in the South Midwest region. Learn more at http://www.rootsmemphis.org/.
A Resource Guide for Beginning Farmers
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach have released “A Resource Guide for Beginning Farmers”, a new publication that compiles existing training resources on everything from soil and composting to small farm equipment and whole-farm planning, including information on food safety and seed saving. The 48-page guide is divided into three parts: production practices, post-harvest handling, and business planning and basic farm finances. www.leopold.iastate.edu/pubs-and-papers/2015-07-resource-guide-beginning-farmers
NSAC Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has released its 2014 Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs. This free, digital guide offers plain-language explanations of the dozens of federal programs and policies most important to sustainable agriculture and how farmers, ranchers, and grassroots organizations nationwide can access them. Check out the guide at http://sustainableagriculture.net/publications/grassrootsguide/.
Free Sustainable Farming Tutorials from ATTRA
The free, self-guided tutorials on Scaling Up for Regional Markets and Pest Management contain multiple lessons with ATTRA specialists and other well-known experts in sustainable agriculture. They’re designed for you to delve deeply into the subject while working at your own pace and include calculators, worksheets, resource lists, and other downloadable tools. The tutorials also include “case study” conversations with successful producers who know what it takes to make a go of farming. The tutorials are available at https://attra.ncat.org/tutorials/.
Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities
This guide 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. Visit https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=279 to download the PDF for free.
Farmland, Farm Employment, and Training Program Locator for Veterans
This national database is a one-stop shop for information related to military veterans in agriculture. Farmers who want to employ veterans can list jobs, landowners who want to help veterans get started farming can list farmland available to veterans, organizations can list agriculture training programs for veterans, and veterans who are already farming can list their farms. Learn how to connect farmers, veterans, and organizations with each other here: https://www.ncat.org/atf-map/. The database is a free, self-listing service; farmers and organizations can add their own information via a simple online submission form. All submissions are reviewed by NCAT/ATTRA staff.
NOFA-NY Online Apprenticeship Directory for Beginning Farmers
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Inc. (NOFA-NY) online directory to accompany its Farm Apprenticeship Program. The Apprenticeship Program centers on the farmer-to-farmer education that happens between experienced farmer-teachers and novice farmers who are learning how to start and run a farm. Thus, providing an accessible way to post and browse apprenticeship opportunities is an important milestone for the program. http://nofany.org/bfam/apprenticeshipmain.
ATTRA’s Sustainable Farming Internship Directory
This 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. The listed farms are primarily seeking interns/apprentices from North America. http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/internships/.
Sustainable Food Jobs Listserv: COMFOODSJOBS E-List
Are you looking for a job in the category of sustainable food systems? Join this listserv and receive notification of job postings and opportunities in sustainable foods. The e-list service was created by Hugh Joseph of Tufts University. https://elist.tufts.edu/wws/subscribe/comfoodjobs.
Good Food Jobs Website
A job search tool designed to link people looking for meaningful food work with the businesses that need their energy, enthusiasm, and intellect. Listed opportunities with farmers and food artisans, policy makers and purveyors, retailers and restaurateurs, economists, ecologists, and more. http://goodfoodjobs.com/.
Veteran Careers in Agriculture Resource Guide
Farmer Veteran Coalition has released “Veteran Careers in Agriculture: A Resource Guide.” The 40-page PDF publication introduces the Farmer Veteran Coalition and its work, profiles veteran farmers, discusses opportunities for veterans to find employment in agriculture, and offers resources for business planning. It also serves as a directory of agricultural organizations and educational opportunities for farmer veterans. You can access the guide at http://www.farmvetco.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/RG_FINAL_WEB_compressed.pdf
Finger Lakes LandLink
Finger Lakes LandLink is a project of Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County and Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming. The purpose is to facilitate connections between land owners and farmers seeking land in the Finger Lakes region and to grow the local food economy. http://www.fingerlakeslandlink.org/.
Catskills FarmLink is an organization that seeks to connect farmers with underused land in the Catskills Region. Land seekers can access current land availability postings as well as state and regional farming resources. The site also compiles events listings, such as, educational workshops, networking events, etc. http://catskillsfarmlink.org/.
Columbia Land Conservancy and Dutchess Land Conservancy Farmer Landowner Match Program
The Columbia Land Conservancy and Dutchess Land Conservancy joint Farmer Landowner Match Program connects landowners seeking to have their land farmed with farmers seeking land. Since its inception in 2008, the program has facilitated more than 30 matches, helping farmers gain access to more than 2,000 acres of land. There are currently over 200 program participants. Their primary focus area is Columbia and Dutchess County, NY but the database incorporates many regional participants as well. http://clctrust.org/working-farms/farmer-landowner-match-program/
Vermont Agriculture Land Access Database
This database, from the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension’s New Farmer Project, will help connect farmers seeking land and business opportunities with land and farm owners with available resources. It’s not only for Vermont farmers—if you’re within 50 miles of Vermont, you can use the database to find or advertise opportunities. Established farmers interested in providing access to land or transitioning their operations can list their information in the database. So can landowners not currently farming who wish to develop tenure arrangements such as lease-to-own, farm management or owner-financed farm sales. http://www.uvm.edu/newfarmer/?Page=vermont-lad/index.html&SM=land/sub-menu.html.
New England Landlink
The New England Small Farm Institute, based out of Belchertown, MA, provide a landlink service that encompasses all of the New England state and New York. Farm seekers can browse property listings by state, as well as postings for farm manager and partner positions. http://www.smallfarm.org/main/for_new_farmers/new_england_landlink/.
New England Farmland Finder
A website put together by a number of organizations throughout the northeast, and funded by the USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The site provides easy access to current farm property listings in New England. Land seekers can view land available for purchase or rent via a map with icons showing the locations of the farms. http://newenglandfarmlandfinder.org/.
NYFC Finding Farmland
The National Young Farmers Coalition is excited to present Finding Farmland, a financial education tool for farmers buying land. In the throes of a land search? Use the Land Affordability Calculator to compare financing costs for two different farm properties, or to compare different financing scenarios for a single property. Dreaming of owning a farm, but not yet planning? Read the Case Study, brush up your financial literacy, and plug some numbers into the Calculator to start building a plan around your dreams. https://findingfarmland.youngfarmers.org/
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project
This site, sponsored by Tufts University in Massachusetts, seeks to match land seekers with farms and property owners in Massachusetts and surrounding regions. The site allows land seekers to post their locations on an interactive map. Land owners can also post available properties on the site. http://www.nesfp.org/.
Land For Good Offers Land Leasing Tutorial
Access to farmland is one of the biggest challenges for new farmers. For many, leasing may be an effective strategy. Leases can provide affordable, flexible and secure access to farms, land, and buildings. Land For Good, a nonprofit offering education and assistance to owners and managers of working lands, entering farmers, and other-land use decision-makers, is offering an online land leasing tutorial. The tutorial offers four short, easy and informative modules that give basic information, lease examples and lots of linked resources. http://landforgood.org/wp-content/uploads/LFG-New-England-Farm-Leasing-Tutorial.pdf
Acquiring Your Farm: Free Online Course
Looking to start a farm, but haven’t found the right piece of land? Land For Good, a non-profit organization, is offering a course: “Acquiring Your Farm.” The course takes farm seekers through a comprehensive, step-by-step investigation of options and strategies related to access to land and farms. The course covers seven modules, or topics, each with tools such as worksheets and checklists. http://newsite.landforgood.org/.
Finding Land to Farm: Six Ways to Secure Farmland
This publication by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) highlights some common ways to lease or own land. It outlines important considerations about each of these leasing options and paths to ownership. Find out how to seek out land tenure, learn the elements of a good lease, and learn how to find land to farm. https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=174
Finding Farmland: A Farmer’s Guide to Working with Land Trusts
The National Young Farmers Coalition has released a new guide for farmers, designed to provide an introduction to land trusts and explain the process of partnering with a land trust to access affordable farmland. You can download a copy at http://www.youngfarmers.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/NYFC-Finding-Affordable-Farmland.pdf.
For a more extensive list of farm link resources, visit http://nebeginningfarmers.org/farmers/land/ and click on “What organizations can help me find land?”