Bringing New Farmers to the Table
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|Incubator Farm Project||New Farmer Toolbox
“Demand for producers who can sell directly to consumers and meet the demands of retail and institutional markets in the state exceeds the supply of those prepared and equipped to sell into those markets,” according to the results of a year-long “Farm to Fork” initiative spearheaded by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in 2008.
The project Bringing New Farmers to the Table will make support for beginning farmers an integral part of CEFS' 10% Campaign, an initiative that invites consumers, businesses, institutions, and agencies to commit 10 percent of their food dollars to local foods. We can’t have local food without local farmers. The long-term success of North Carolina’s local food economy is dependent upon an influx of new and transitioning farmers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is the project's sponsor through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is directing the project, in collaboration with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA), the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, and Andrew Branan, an attorney who concentrates his practice on production agriculture and land transfer issues.
How will the project address needs and challenges of new and transitioning farmers?
The National Center for Appropriate Technology will develop webinars, case studies, and other educational resources for beginning farmers, highlighting issues such as business planning and risk management, access to farmland, capital and credit.
The Center for Environmental Farming Systems' Incubator Farm Project will facilitate the transition of vacant public lands as places to incubate new farm enterprises through partnerships with a number of county governments or municipalities. In exchange for the land, instead of paying “rent”, incubating farms will donate a percentage of their production (or other community-defined benefit) to those in need in the community (via soup kitchens, food banks, school lunch programs, farmer food share programs, etc).
Additionally, resources for new and transitioning farmers are being gathered and developed through this project and made available through the New Farmer Toolbox. CEFS will also be facilitating extension agent training on business planning, capital and credit, and land access for N.C. Cooperative Extension Agents and Local Food Coordinators who are already serving all 100 North Carolina counties.
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association offered a Beginning Farmer track at its annual conference, and will launch new farm tours for beginning farmers and greatly expand its existing Intern Referral Service.
Andrew Branan will provide legal education services to dozens of beginning farmers per year during the funding period.
How can I learn more?
This project is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, grant #2010-49400-21733. To learn more about this program, and to find more resources for beginning farmers, please visit www.Start2Farm.gov.