Bringing New Farmers to the Table
Please note: this project was supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program from 2010 to 2013.
“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 has made 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) was the project’s sponsor through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) directed 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 has the project addressed needs and challenges of new and transitioning farmers?
The National Center for Appropriate Technology developed 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 facilitated development of new places to incubate new farm enterprises through partnerships with a number of organizations across North Carolina.
Additionally, resources for new and transitioning farmers were gathered and developed through this project and are available through the New Farmer Toolbox. CEFS also facilitated 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 and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians..
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association now offers a Beginning Farmer track at its annual conference, and launched new farm tours for beginning farmers and expanded its existing Intern Referral Service.
Andrew Branan provided legal education services to dozens of beginning farmers per year during the funding period.