NC Choices Beginning Farmer Project

NEW! Niche Meat Teaching Resources
NC Choices Supports Beginning Meat Producers with Business Resources, Training, and Land-Lease Opportunities

NC Choices launches a new USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher grant focused on increasing the number of beginning farmers raising meat through either pasture-based or silvopasture systems by providing them with novel land acquisition strategies, resources, and training opportunities to increase skills, decision-making tools, and the market and buyer connections needed to operate profitably.

Notably, NC Choices will help pair beginning meat producers with grazing opportunities on

  • Solar installations
  • Land with woodland plots for silvopasture
  • Land conservancy land under conservation easements

This 3-year grant aims to provide comprehensive support including long-term lease and land tenure options, targeted training and decision making support, growing market opportunities, and training  for beginning farmers and farmer-trainers.

Think you might be a good fit?

Are you a beginning NC meat producer (raising meat animals for 10 years or less) looking to lease land?


Are you a NC land owner with woodland acreage, land under conservation easement, or solar panel installations interested in working with grazing animal production?


Eligible recipients who are successfully paired with land owners will receive:
  • Technical support from a team of subject matter experts from North Carolina State University,
    North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and the Center for Environmental
    Farming Systems to help design best management plans for your herd on that land.
  • Lease templates and technical assistance from NC State’s land-law attorney to support the successful development of long term leases.
  • $500 toward infrastructure and/or educational training
  • Additional training opportunities to attend production, marketing, and meat business workshops and conferences, with scholarship opportunities available.
  • Potential to public exposure to new customers especially if on public lands

Our team will be in contact as opportunities develop that might be a suited match for you as it pertains to silvopasture, solar, and land trust land.

Sign up for NC FarmLink

In the meantime, NC Choices is working with NC FarmLink to maximize ways to find favorable farm/land pairings. NC FarmLink is a program of NC State Extension that maintains databases of available farmland and farmers looking for land, working with landowners and farmers to ensure an appropriate and lasting match is made.  You can search the site to what farms and/or land are available in your area.  Be sure to click here to register your land or farm on the database.

Additional Resources

The American Solar Grazing Association just put out a series of resources to help farmers interested in grazing solar get started.  Check it out.

Our friends at Carolina Farm Credit have a great set of resources on Adding Leasing to Your Business Toolkit. They cover everything from land leasing to facilities, equipment, fixtures and more – read more here.

The National Young Farmers Coalition built a Finding Farmland Calculator to help farmers determine the relative costs of leased and owned land in their region. Try it here. You can also check out their full Finding Farmland online course – free and done at your own pace – here.

Stay tuned for more resources!


Contact NC Choices Technical Coordinator, Lee Menius – – 704.202.9348

USDA / NIFA logos

This project is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program competitive grant no. 2018-70017-28550 of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.