Beginning Farmers

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General Resources | Internships & Jobs | Land Link Programs


General Resources


Northeast Beginning Farmers Project

Find tutorials & worksheets to help guide you through writing a business plan; videos of experiences farmers giving advice and up close production techniques; a map of service providers to help you, and the Guide to Farming in NY, among many other useful resources! www.nebeginningfarmers.org


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 Releases Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Publication

USDA defines beginning farmers and ranchers as those who have operated a farm or ranch for 10 years or less either as a sole operator or with others who have operated a farm or ranch for 10 years or less. Beginning farmers tend to be younger than established farmers and to operate smaller farms or ranches. Beginning farmers often face obstacles getting started, including high startup costs and limited availability of land. USDA (through the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service) provides loans and conservation assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers. This report draws on data from annual surveys and the Census of Agriculture to provide policymakers with a better understanding of beginning farmers and ranchers, including how they contribute to U.S. agricultural production. http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib53/


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/.


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.


Young Farmer Survey Reveals Obstacles for Young Farmers

The National Young Farmer’s Coalition surveyed 1,000 young farmers across the United States. The findings showed that access to capital, access to land and health insurance present the most significant obstacles for beginning farmers. http://www.youngfarmers.org/newsroom/building-a-future-with-farmers-october-2011.


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/.


Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm

Thinking about alternative financing methods for your farm? This University of Vermont New Farmer Project Guide outlines the legal, accounting, environmental, and social consequences of alternative funding. The guide includes four farmer case studies. To view the guide visit:http://www.uvm.edu/newfarmer/?Page=business/community-supported-farm-guide.html&SM=business/sub-menu.html.


Farm Financing Webinar: Organizing and Finding 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.


Beginning Farmer Network of MA Website

BFNMass (Beginning Farmer Network of MA) just launched a new website providing resources, including blog posts, farming event logs, and more, for beginning farmers throughout Massachusetts. Check out the new MA site at www.bfnmass.org/.

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Internships & Jobs


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/.

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Land Link Programs


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.


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://www.landforgood.org/leasing/online2.html


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/.


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 bunch 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/.


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/.


Catskills FarmLink

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/.

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