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New Support for Veterans and Advanced Beginning Farmers

planting a tomato seedlingThe Cornell Small Farms Program is excited to announce that we have been awarded a 3-year grant from the USDA’s Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program (BFRDP) that will enable us to provide new support services for military veterans seeking to farm, and for “advanced beginning” farmers who have 3-9 years of farming experience. Matching funds are provided by our collaborators at the NY Farm Viability Institute and the Local Economies Project.
Since 2009 we have operated the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project, a vibrant educational and social network that delivers mentoring, information resources, and training to beginning farmers and service providers who support new farm viability. Our long-term goal is to ensure access to resources, education and supportive networks to all who are interested in farming in the Northeast.
With these new funds we will create training programs and farmer-to-farmer networks to address the needs of two under-served farmer groups: military/veteran farmers and individuals who have been farming for 3-9 years. Our team of collaborators includes: Cornell Cooperative Extension, National Center for Appropriate Technology, NY Farm Viability Institute, Farmer Veteran Coalition, NY FarmNet, NY Dept of Veterans Affairs, Local Economies Project, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, and Heroic Food Farm School.
Together we will:

  • Offer annual 5-day intensive entrepreneurial “boot camps” to military veterans seeking to farm
  • Develop approved on-the-job training opportunities on farms, allowing military vets to use GI benefits to get hands-on farm experience
  • Create regional farmer veteran networking groups
  • Provide 40 advanced beginning farmers with intensive support from a “New Farmer Profit Team” of advisers
  • Develop 8 new online courses geared toward advanced beginners seeking to diversify with new enterprises
  • Design intensive trainings on scaling up, including wholesale marketing and equipment decision-making

If you’re a veteran interested in upcoming programs, click here to fill out our short interest form.

Violet Stone

Violet Stone

Violet is the coordinator of the Reconnecting with Purpose project, which offers farm and food system educators and change makers a retreat space to explore challenges and renew a sense of inspiration and purpose in their work and lives. She is also a collaborator on the Be Well Farming Project. This project creates reflective spaces for farmers and food producers to connect meaningfully and explore strategies that can ameliorate challenges and bolster quality of life. Violet serves as the NY SARE Coordinator and can help farmers and educators navigate NESARE grant opportunities.
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1 Comment

  1. Avatar Jeffrey Williamson on February 3, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    This is a great opportunity. I am a beginning farmer and a veteran. I had a farm in PA for a little while but have since relocated to TN. I would be willing to help spread the program here in Eastern Tennessee as well as use resources your program has. Thank you.

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