Helpful Resources for New 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. Also offer: Grants for new farmers; Sample leases and contract; Federal funding programs for new farmers
Conservation 2.0: How Land Trusts Can Save America’s Working Farms
The National Young Farmers Coalition released a report that reveals how current farmland conservation practices are failing working farmers. Farmland Conservation 2.0: How Land Trusts Can Protect America’s Working Farms surveyed 200 land trust leaders from across the United States and found that one-quarter of land trusts have seen protected farmland move out of production.
Getting Started in Farming: An Introduction to Farm Business Planning
The eight lessons in this course will guide you through the process of imagining and planning a successful farming enterprise. You’ll also hear from several farmers who have made their dreams a reality.
6 Beginning Farmer Tips for Securing Farm Funding
In this piece from HobbyFarms.com, Lisa Kivirist shares tips for unearthing funds to help you start your farm.
Tools for Transition Project
The Tools for Transition Project provided by eOrganic insights about the economics of organic transition.
Six Ways to Secure Farmland
This publication provided by ATTRA highlights some common ways to lease or own land. It outlines important considerations about each of these leasing options and paths to ownership.
Farm Business Start-Up Checklist (PDF)
This is a checklist of tasks suggested by established farmers offering important to-dos before opening for business on “Day One.”
Agrarian Trust helps sustainable next-generation farmers access land.
Starting a business information lists
Agricultural Marketing Resource Center’s webpage with many tools for beginning a business.
New Farmer Organizations
Formal Beginning Farmer Training Programs
- Farm Beginnings
A Land Stewardship project initiative, for farmers to “to learn firsthand about values clarification and goal setting, whole farm planning, business plan development, and low-cost, sustainable farming methods.” 36 training hours. Currently offered in 7 states including Midwest: Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
- Sustainable Farming Association (SFA)
Farm Skills 101 is a hands-on essential skills course necessary for the forage-based livestock producer. The program consists of 50 hours of on-farm education over three weekends at farms near Alexandria, Minn. Instructors are farmer-educators: Sue Wika, PhD; Tom Prieve, DVM; and Kent Solberg, MS. All students receive a free one-year SFA membership.
- Annie’s Project
Extension-led program “dedicated to strengthening women’s roles in the modern farm enterprise.” Six educational sessions. Currently offered in 19 states, including throughout the Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
- Angelic Organics Learning Center
Led by experienced farmers from the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT), we offer business planning (Stateline Farm Beginnings®), on-farm training, and mentoring throughout Illinois and southern Wisconsin.
- Central Illinois Farm Beginnings
A year-long, farmer-led program for those with a strong commitment to creating a sustainable farm business, but with limited on-farm production or farm management experience.
- ISLAND Farmer Residency Program
A three-year farm incubator project in Northwest Lower Michigan that gives beginning farmers land, access to equipment, and a supportive environment to get started. This is not an internship opportunity—it is a chance for experienced but landless farmers to manage their own business on the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy’s Maple Bay Farm, just south of Elk Rapids, Mich. Applications will be accepted each fall to bring new residents to the farm. For more information, or to apply to the program, go the ISLAND Farmer Residency Program website, or contact Larry Dyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Michigan State University Organic Farmer Training Program
A nine-month intensive training program in year-round organic farming focusing on diversified production of vegetables, livestock, flowers, fruits and herbs for local markets. The program emphasizes student learning in hands-on farm management and decision-making as well as development of necessary farming and business skills and knowledge.
- UVM Farming Training Program
A 6-month intensive program for aspiring farmers and food systems advocates that provides a hands-on, skills-based education in sustainable agriculture. This full-time program offers participants the unique opportunity to manage their own growing site, take classes from professors and expert farmers, and rotate as workers and learners on successful, diverse farms in the Burlington area. This program will provide an intense, supportive experience where participants leave with a Certificate in Sustainable Farming, a deeper understanding of agricultural management and small-scale farming, and the entrepreneurial skills to start their own operation.