Farm Marketing Solutions is growing as a great resource for both experienced and beginning farmers. While I hope to become a corner stone of farmer education as time goes on, I know that I will not be able to cover it all. It would also be a shame not to share some of the many websites that have helped me through the years. As a content producer (that's my fancy online name) it is hard to pin down any one perfect resource for farmers. There are so many types of farms, and so many types of farmers looking for all kinds of information. The answers to the questions you have might depend on geographic location, agricultural specialization, or any number of things. If you are really interested in finding the answer to your questions, take some time to look around on websites that you might not think are immediately related. Often times there are hidden gems.
I could spend the rest of my life reading all the information out there. Even just what is contained in these links. Remember that it is important to plan, and it is important to learn, but at some point you are going to have to get out there and try it for yourself.
Beginning Farmer Links
The Northeast Beginning Farmer Project is led by a team of educators who care deeply about supporting the success of new farmers. It is housed at theCornell Small Farms Program and is funded by the USDA’s Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program, project #2009-49400-05878 and a grant from the NYFVI.
I have spent a significant amount of time on this website. There's a great project they did where they did video documentaries from a number of farms in New York. Really informative. I would definitely recommend this site.
An increasing number of individuals and families are thinking about starting to farm part-time, or converting from farming part-time to becoming a full-time farmer. To help those who are relatively new to farming, an interdisciplinary team has assembled a wide range of information and online publications. While starting a new farm can be a daunting endeavor, the good news is there are more resources than ever before to assist you with developing a successful farming business. Make sure to check out their link of useful links here.
Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. For more than sixty years, they’ve been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing our findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet.
- Coordinate education programs and services for beginning farmer efforts statewide.
- Assess needs of beginning farmers and retiring farmers.
- Develop, coordinate, and deliver targeted education to beginning and retiring farm families.
- Provide programs and services that develop skills and knowledge in financial management and planning, legal issues, tax laws, technical production and management, leadership, sustainable agriculture, human health and the environment.
Few new and beginning farmers and ranchers have adequate farm, business and marketing skills to initiate and maintain viable agricultural operations. To address this need the ATTRA has created a modular learning program that provides information on poultry, small livestock and agroforestry operations, as well as information on business development and farm safety.
The Greenhorns documentary film, completed after almost 3 years in production, explores the lives of America’s young farming community – its spirit, practices, and needs. It is the filmmaker’s hope that by broadcasting the stories and voices of these young farmers, we can build the case for those considering a career in agriculture – to embolden them, to entice them, and to recruit them into farming. The production of The Greenhorns is part of our grassroots nonprofit’s larger campaign for agricultural reform.
The Ecological Farming Association nurtures healthy and just farms, food systems, communities and environment by bringing people together for education, alliance building and advocacy.
Becoming a farmer or rancher will feel good, but before you can get to that sunset scene, you must put in a lot of work. There are many questions you must ask yourself, many things to think about, and many hours you must spend creating and implementing the plan for a new agricultural enterprise.
The mission of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (New Entry) is to assist people with limited resources who have an interest in small-scale commercial agriculture, to begin farming in Massachusetts. The broader goals of New Entry are to support the vitality and sustainability of the region's agriculture, to build long term economic self-reliance and food security among participants and their communities, and to expand access to high-quality, culturally appropriate foods in undeserved areas through production of locally-grown foods.
Success for beginning farmers and new farm business operators is far from assured, putting at risk their own livelihoods, Ohio’s communities, regional economic development, and the potential to operate local food systems. Regarding small farm survival, analysts at USDA’s Economic Research Service, report that small farms, like all small businesses, have a relatively high exit rate of 9 – 10% per year. Two primary factors affect the failure rate of agricultural enterprises: the size of the farm and the age of the operator. Farm exit rates decline as income of the farm increases and farm exit rates are lower for both producers between 45 and 54 years of age and for those with prior business experience.
The Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) provides educational and business opportunities for farm workers and aspiring farmers to grow and sell crops grown on two organic farms in Monterey County, California.
Our mission is to advance economic viability, social equity and ecological land management among limited-resource and aspiring farmers. We work to create opportunities for family farms while providing education and demonstration on conservation, habitat restoration, marketing and whole farm planning.
A network for young and beginning farmers. On this site you can create you own profile and discuss farming with others who are in your position.
Helpful links for new and beginning farmers.
Farm Beginnings® is a Land Stewardship Project (LSP) initiative that provides participants a wide range of opportunities to learn firsthand about low-cost, sustainable methods of farming. Launched in 1997, Farm Beginnings is a farmer-led, community based training and support program aimed at getting more farmers on the land farming sustainably.
Starting a farm is difficult, and succeeding beyond the first few years may be even more so. Beginning farmers and ranchers nation-wide face unique challenges to achieve their farm goals and aspirations. The Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project is a new, collaborative effort that reaches across Virginia to improve educational opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers to establish and sustain viable agricultural operations. Unique to this project is its community-based participatory framework where a coalition of organizations collaboratively supports beginning farmers and ranchers through whole farm planning outreach and education, online resources and tools, and farmer-to-farmer mentoring.
Taylor Reid has done a great job of compiling links to beginning farmer websites. His site is a great source of information and I highly recommend spending time there.
ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. We work to accomplish our mission by:
- Providing marketing support and training to area farmers
- Connecting area chef and foodservice buyers with the farmers who suit their needs
- Spearheading a Local Food Campaign, which includes our Local Food Guide, local food bumper sticker (have one on your car?), Get Local initiative, and more
- Certifying local products grown/raised in the Southern Appalachians as Appalachian Grown
- Running our Growing Minds Farm to School Program, which focuses on reconnecting children with where their food comes from.
Farmer and rancher linking programsconnect new farmers with retiring landowners. When the new and retiring generation match up, they can work out mutually beneficial arrangements to transfer ownership while maintaining a small farm’s legacy and promoting good stewardship.
Inside the Grange, you’ll be joined by hundreds of other beginning farmers from across the country who are busy preparing for the season ahead. Participate in forums. Watch technical tutorials. Read the latest agricultural news. Find out about upcoming conferences, workshops, and apprenticeship opportunities in your region. Seek advice from experienced farmers and share your story. Step inside the Virtual Grange and join the conversation.
FamilyFarmed.org works directly with family farmers as well as with local and national organizations that serve farmers and are working to build local food systems. We also work through our website, annual FamilyFarmed EXPO, and Chicagoland CSA Guide to educate the public about eating locally grown food, supporting farm families, and becoming members of local CSA programs.
The New Farmer Development Project (NFDP) identifies, educates, and supports immigrants with agricultural experience to establish their own economically and environmentally sustainable small farm businesses in the NYC region.
There are many people who have started or hope to farm. These new farmers have a passion for farming. Despite the formidable challenges, with sufficient help and support they can succeed. Their vitality contributes to local economies, and helps keep the agricultural resource base productive. This page provides a series of useful links.
New England Small Farm Institute (NESFI) is a land-based, non-profit organization. It was founded in 1978 by a local citizens' action group—Women in Agriculture, Food Policy and Land Use Reform—to encourage more sustainable regional agriculture, Our mission is to promote small farm development by providing information and training for aspiring, beginning and transitioning farmers. We maintain an extensive resource collection; produce publications; develop and offer innovative, farmer-guided programs; and advocate for policies that encourage sustainable small-scale agriculture. We seek collaborative program-delivery partnerships with service providers—associates, on-farm mentors, organizations and agencies—throughout the Northeast and nationwide.
Stewards of the Land is a documentary-style project that was completed in North Carolina’s Central Piedmont Region—an area known as the Triangle. Anchored by the cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, the Triangle is known for its vibrant network of small farms that supply the community with locally grown food nearly year-round.