New & Beginning Farmer Resources

The following is a list of websites with information and resources that might be helpful for New & Beginning Farmers. Some are geographically-focused (though most are not), and even the local sites have a lot of good general information. They are listed below in alphabetical order.

Agricultural Marketing Website (from Penn State University) has a Beginning Farmers Page with plenty of useful information. The page offers case studies, publications on Farm Decision Making; Marketing Opportunities for Small Farmers; Managing Risks; Farm Succession Strategies; Farmer Cooperatives; Alternative Production Processes, and more.

Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) is a great resource for beginning and aspiring farmers. ALBA “generates opportunities for farm workers, limited-resource, and aspiring farmers.” Their “overall goal is to create greater economic opportunities for small farms while promoting ecological land management and healthy local foods. Objectives accomplished in pursuit of this goal include training in organic farm production, marketing, recordkeeping, labor law, pest management and numerous other topics related to operating a small farm business.”

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) (based in Asheville, NC) is a great regional resource. They are dedicated to “expanding local food markets that will preserve our agricultural heritage, give everyone access to fresh, healthy food, and keep our farmers farming.” Among the many things they offer are Farm to Business, Farm to School, and Farm to Hospital resources, Conferences and Educational Programs, Farmer Grants,

Family Farm Tours, Research, Publications, and many useful links.

Beginning Farmer Center at Iowa State University provides a number of helpful resources for the next generation of farmers.

Beginning Farming Ohio is a website dedicated to their unique information needs and designed to make it easier for Ohio Farmers them to find the services and resources they seek.

Center for the Micro-EcoFarming Movement has a very nice website with lots of resources, information, tips, and links to help you get started in farming.

Cultivate the Soil: Resources for Beginning and Small Scale Farmers and Ranchers in Washington State is a 2008 from the Washington State Housing/Finance Commission Beginning Farmer/Rancher Loan Program that  provides comprehensive information on financing and loan programs, business planning, marketing, finding land, insurance and risk management, energy efficiency, education, organic farming, and minority-specific programs.

Ecological Farming Association is a non-profit educational organization in California which hosts training programs, educational conferences, and on-farm events. The website has lots of great information. They also have an excellent Blog.

FamilyFarmed.org is based in the Chicago area. Their mission is to expand the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food and goods, in order to enhance the social, economic and environmental health of our communities. They offer Market Development programs, an annual Expo, and other useful information.

Farmers For the Future is a community of young farmers with lots of resources, interesting articles, and tips for Beginning Farmers.

Greenhorns is a fantastic resource for beginning farmers. Their website has lots of great information, as does their blog, The Irresistible Fleet of Bicycles

Land Stewardship Project offers all sorts of resources for beginning farmers. In addition to their Farm Beginnings training program, they are a great source of information for farm policy and activism, promoting sustainability, developing farmer resources, and much more.

Missouri Alternatives Center has a nice list of websites and publications for and about beginning farmers.

New England Small Farm Institute (NESFI) is a land-based, non-profit organization founded in 1978. And they have an extensive collection of fantastic resources for aspiring and beginning farmers. Their website includes “an extensive resource collection; produce publications; develops and offers innovative, farmer-guided programs; and advocates for policies that encourage sustainable small-scale agriculture.” The Growing New Farmers section helps connect new and potential farmers with programs and services, and provides resources for service providers who wish to facilitate their development. These pages are a must for anyone thinking about beginning farming.

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (from Tufts University) has a mission “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 underserved areas through production of locally-grown foods.” They also publish a Resource Guide for New Farmers.

New Farm (from the Rodale Institute)provides tons of useful educational, production, and policy information on organic farming and organic transition. They also feature stories about individual farmers that are often quite instructive and interesting.

New Farmer Development Project (from Grow NYC) identifies, educates, and supports immigrants with agricultural experience by helping them become local farmers and establish small farms in the New York, New Jersey, and Northern Pennsylvania.

Northeast Beginning Farmer Project from Cornell University Cooperative Extension offers online courses, interactive farm planning tools, a new farmer discussion forum, and lots of useful information and links.

Programs and Resources Specifically for Beginning Farmers is available from the Center For Rural Affairs.

Start2Farm.gov is a new website for beginning farmers. The Start2Farm site and program are a project of the National Agricultural Library in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation. Start2Farm is funded through a USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Beginning Farming and Ranching Development Program grant and was developed to assist people new to farming or ranching and those who have less than 10 years experience.

Stewards of the Land is a project exploring the lives of six small-scale farmers who are profiled using sound, images, and writing. And their work is contextualized through a series of articles examining sustainable agriculture in the area, the state of North Carolina, and the country as a whole.

Vermont’s New Farmer Project has lots of tools and information for beginning farmers in Vermont and beyond.

Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Project is a collaborative effort represented by beginning farmer stakeholders across Virginia.  The project is housed in Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Extension Education and funded through BFRDP.

University of Arkansas – Division of Agriculture Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program has put together a series of modules to help beginning farmers find information on topics including business planning, poultry production, goat and sheep production, basic agro forestry, farm safety and sustainable agriculture. All these materials are available for free and also in Spanish.

University of Hawai’i at Manoa Links for New Farmers covers a number of different categories.

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