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Eco-Agriculture Reference Desk

Eco-Agriculture Reference Desk

We’ve gathered a huge list of resources for beginning and new farmers to help them succeed in their eco-agriculture business. These resources may prove very helpful for experienced farmers, as well! Information about building an agriculture business, farming methods, beginning farmer grants, beginning farmer loans, farming how-tos, farming educational groups, new farmer training programs and much more are available below. 

Want more learning resources? Let us know what else you’d like to learn by taking the Young Farmer’s Survey or contacting Mary at mbattjes@acresusa.com.

Training Programs | 

 

Resources Lists

 

Mentorships |

 

 

 

 

Training Sessions

 

 

Ready to take the next step in your agricultural education and experience? Find a helpful new farmer training program in the list below that suits you.

 

 

Agricultural and Land Based Training Program

http://www.albafarmers.org/
ALBA Headquarters: Rural Development Center, P.O. Box 6264, Salinas, CA 93912
831-758-2012

 

ALBA’s mission is to create economic opportunity for limited-resource and aspiring organic farmers through land-based education in the heart of the Salinas Valley using a 5-year Farmer Education and Enterprise Development (FEED) program.

 

 

Angelic Organics Learning Center – Farmer Training Initiative
https://www.learngrowconnect.org/farmer
Angelic Organics Learning Center, 1545 Rockton Rd, Caledonia IL, 61011
815-389-8455
info@familyfarmed.org

 

The Farmer Training Initiative supports and serves prospective, beginning and experienced farmers through training in business planning, financial management and regenerative agricultural practices. Their commitment is to work with those who wish to become sustainable and organic agricultural farmers or growers.

 

 

Beginner Farmer Network
http://www.bfnmass.org/
Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy, 150 Harrison Ave, Rm. 256, Boston, MA 02111
nesfp@tufts.edu

 

The Beginning Farmer Network of Massachusetts is dedicated to beginning farmer success in MA. The website is includes a searchable Resource Map, Resource Finder, Referral Network, state-wide calendar of beginning farmer events, a jobs/internships posting board, etc. Coordinated by the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project.

 

 

FARMroots’ Beginning Farmer Program
https://www.grownyc.org/farmroots/nfd
GrowNYC, PO Box 2327, New York NY 10272
212-788-7900

 

FARMroots' Beginning Farmer Program identifies, educates, and supports aspiring farmers with agricultural experience to establish their own economically and environmentally sustainable farm businesses in the NYC region.

 

 

Farmshare Austin
https://www.farmshareaustin.org/
3608 River Rd, Cedar Creek, TX 78612
512-337-2211
info@farmshareaustin.org

 

An 18-week immersive farming classes and one-time continuing education classes for current farmers

 

 

University of Missouri —- Beginning Farming Resources
http://agebb.missouri.edu/mac/links/
University of Missouri Extension, Columbia, MO 65211
573-882-2121
agebb@missouri.edu

 

A comprehensive list of information resources and links for the beginning farmer

 

 

Central Texas Young Farmers Coalition
http://www.centraltexasyoungfarmers.org/

 

The Central Texas Young Farmer Coalition seeks to build connections between young farmers throughout the state in an effort to increase food awareness, encourage the exchange of ideas, and create synergistic relationships. This site is a list of farming resources in Texas.

 

 

CRAFT Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training
http://www.craftfarmer.org/p/farmer-training-resources.html
craft@learngrowconnect.org

 

The Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training is a farmer-led coalition organized by sustainable agriculture farmers in a self-selected geographic region. Participating farmers help prepare the next generation of farmers. 

 

 

Eco City Farms Beginning Farmer Training Program
http://www.ecoffshoots.org/education/beginning-farmer-training-program/
Eco City Farms, 6010 Taylor Road, Riverdale, MD  20737
301-288-1125
info@ecocityfarms.org

 

This program is designed to help an aspiring, new, or beginning farmer learn the skills needed to farm.  It includes comprehensive practical hands­-on experiences, one­-on­-one mentoring, and a curriculum that includes crop production, resource management, and business and administrative skills.

 

 

Family Farmed Farmer Training
http://www.familyfarmed.org/our-work/farmer-training/
FamilyFarmed, 225 W. Hubbard, Suite 650, Chicago, IL 60654
312-874-7360
info@familyfarmed.org

 

A comprehensive program designed to help small and mid-acreage fruit and vegetable farmers grow their businesses.

 

 

Farm Beginnings Collaborative
http://farmbeginningscollaborative.org/
Angelic Organics Learning Center, 1545 Rockton Rd, Caledonia IL, 61011
815-389-8455
info@familyfarmed.org

 

Farm Beginnings Collaborative is a national alliance that includes 13 organizations with programs serving beginning farmers in 14 states. A year-long training program offers farm business-planning, on-farm field day workshops, and mentoring from area farmers.  

 

 

Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems
Michigan Organic Farming Exchange – New Farmers
https://www.canr.msu.edu/michigan_organic_farming_exchange/education/new-farmers
480 Wilson Road, Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824
517-353-3535
CRFS@anr.msu.edu 
Rachel Kelly, Program Coordinator

 

 

FARRMS Farm Beginnings
http://www.farrms.org/learn-update
FARRMS, PO Box 22, Tuttle ND 58488, USA
701-867-2921
info@farrms.org

 

Farm Beginnings® is geared towards anyone currently farming or interested in farming and ranching who wants to plan a profitable, sustainable farm and ranch business. The classes are led by experienced farmers, ranchers, and agricultural professionals.

 

 

Heartbeat Learning Gardens Farmer Training Program
www.heartbeatgardens.wordpress.com/programs/training
Heartbeat Learning Gardens, PO Box 831, Yellow Springs OH 45387
937-767-0223
heartbeatgardens@gmail.com

 

The farmer training program is an immersion experience in simplicity, cooperation, and sustainable agriculture. From mid-April to mid-October, participants engage in formal study and hands-on training while living in simple accommodations at the farm.

 

 

 

 

National Young Farmers Coalition
www.youngfarmers.org
National Young Farmers Coalition, PO Box 1074, Hudson NY 12534
518-643-3564
info@youngfarmers.org

 

NYFC was founded by and for a new generation of farmers in the United States. They work in coalition with farmers, consumers, organizations, and government to tackle the many challenges that young, independent, and sustainable farmers face in their first years operating a farm business.

 

 

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project – Farming Training
https://nesfp.org/farmer-training
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project 45 Merrimack St., 5th Floor, Lowell MA 01852
978-654-6745
justin.chase@tufts.edu

 

New Entry's farmer training programs help new and prospective farmers learn what it takes to run a small farm operation, from the very basics to the intricacies of business planning and farm management.

 

 

Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Beginning Farmer
http://www.nofa.org/beginningfarmer.php
Northeast Organic Farming Association, 411 Sheldon Road, Barre MA 01005
203-308-2584 
web@nofa.org

Beginner Farmer Programming is a coordinated regional effort. The chapters of NOFA aim to attract farmers to the Northeast to learn to farm and to provide the environment for this to happen. Each chapter administers distinct programming to meet the educational and networking needs within their state. Serves Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

 

 

Organic Growers School Year-long Farm Beginnings® Farmer Training Program
https://organicgrowersschool.org/farmers/farm-beginnings/

 

Farm Beginnings® helps build skills through 12 months of farmer-led training, mentoring, and networking including farmer-led classroom sessions, on-farm tours, and an extensive farmer network to help clarify goals and strengths, establish a strong enterprise plan, and start building a profitable and sustainable operation.

 

 

Plan Your Farm
http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/plan-your-farm/
Cornell Small Farms Program, 15A Plant Science, Cornell University, Ithaca NY 14853
607-255-9227
smallfarmsprogram@cornell.edu 

 

This portal provides tutorials, videos, and links to people who can help develop farm plans. Work through the following topics in order and for a solid foundation to start a farm business. Complete online worksheets in each tutorial and create a farm plan.

 

 

Rodale institute Organic Farming Program
http://www.delval.edu/continuing-and-professional-studies/credit-certificate-programs/organic-farming-program
Rodale Institute, 700 E Butler Ave., Doylestown PA 18901
Program Inquiries and Admission contact - Stephanie Morace
215-489-2904
stephanie.morace@delval.edu

 

The Organic Farming Program is a 36-credit, one-year certificate program offered through a partnership between Delaware Valley University and Rodale Institute. 

 

 

Soil Association — Future Growers
https://www.soilassociation.org/futuregrowers/
Soil Association, 3rd Floor, Osborne House, 1 Osborne Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 5HG, United Kingdom
44-131-666-2474

The Future Growers program provides a six-month course of farm-based training events available to any aspiring grower. It includes field trips and educational seminars.

 

 

The Greenhorns
https://greenhorns.org/
The Greenhorns,HQ, 767 Leighton Point Rd. Pembroke ME 04666
office@thegreenhorns.net

 

The Greenhorns is a grassroots organization that recruits, promotes and supports the rising generation of new farmers in America via a radio show, documentary films, almanacs, anthologies, mix-tapes, posters, guidebooks and digital maps.

 

 

University of Arkansas — Division of Agriculture Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program
https://attra.ncat.org/uofa/
Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, POSC O-408, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, 72701
479-575-4952

 

This is a modular learning program that provides information on poultry, small livestock and agroforestry operations, and information on business development and farm safety.

 

 Farmer Resource Lists

 

While we hope to provide all of the information you need to be a successful eco-farmer, we know that we still have a lot of ground to cover. So, we’ve compiled a list of resources for beginning and new farmers that offers information about farming organizations, educational opportunities, news, training, apprenticeships and events in the eco- sustainable- and organic agriculture community.

 

ATTRA — Resources for Beginning Farmers
https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/local_food/startup.html
ATTRA (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas)
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, P.O. Box 3838, Butte   MT 59702
800-346-9140

 

The links on this page include internship programs, how to earn practical farming skills, evaluate farmland, choose a farming enterprise or business structure, develop a marketing plan, write a business plan, and get the financing. 

 

 

Beginning Farmers.org – Resources Compilation
https://www.beginningfarmers.org/beginning-farmers/

 

Beginningfarmers.org is a comprehensive compilation of information resources on farm financing, finding land, business planning, agricultural production and marketing, and much more. This is a national resource list for beginning farmers.

 

 

Central Texas Young Farmers Organization
https://www.facebook.com/TexasYoungFarmerCoalition/

 

Information listserve, monthly meetups, workshops, and more!

 

EcoFarmingDaily.com
http://ecofarmingdaily.com
Acres U.S.A.
P.O. Box 1690, Greeley, CO 80632

 

Free articles from Acres U.S.A. from credible agronomists, scientists and farmers about eco-agriculture.

 

Farm Aid — Resources for Beginning Farmers
https://www.farmaid.org/our-work/resources-for-farmers/farmer-resource-guides/beginning-farmers-farm-aid-resource-guide/
Farm Aid, 501 Cambridge Street, Third Floor, Cambridge, MA 02141
800-327-6243
farmhelp@farmaid.org

 

If you’re considering a career in farming, these resources will provide a general overview of how to get started, where to gain experience, and who can help.

 

 

Food Tank 10 Financial Resources for New & Beginning Farmers
https://foodtank.com/news/2015/05/ten-financial-resources-for-new-and-beginning-farmers/
Food Tank: The Food Think Tank, 317 Royal St #4, New Orleans, LA 70130

 

This website features a list of resources to aid new and beginning farmers in the U.S.

 

 

MOSES New Organic Stewards
https://mosesorganic.org/projects/new-organic-stewards
Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service, PO Box 339, Spring Valley WI 54767
715-778-5775
info@mosesorganic.org

 

New Organic Stewards (NOS) is a hub to connect to farming peers, get training on specific production practices, learn how to manage your farm’s finances, find land, funding, and find farm-related jobs.

 

 

Oregon State University Beginning Farmers
http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/beginning-farmers/beginning-farmers
Small Farms Program, Oregon State University, Corvallis OR 97331
smallfarmsprogram@oregonstate.edu

 

An online resource for beginning farmers including a list of events, conferences, news, education, training, apprenticeships, women farmers, etc.

 

 

Vermont New Farmer Project
http://www.uvm.edu/newfarmer/
Vermont New Farmer Project, c/o UVM Extension, 327 US Route 301, Barre VT 05602
802-476-2003
newfarmer@uvm.edu

 

A website with a links of organizations, services, and educational opportunities for Vermont's new and aspiring farmers. Includes online and on-the-ground resources that will help start and grow a farm business.

 

Farmer Mentorship Lists

 

Are you a new farmer who wants to learn from an experienced farmer? A mentorship or apprenticeship could be perfect for you. Find a mentor with some help from the below resources.

 

Appalachian Sustainable Development — Farmer and Rancher Mentorship
http://asdevelop.org/farmers/velopment, 1096 Ole Berry Dr., Ste 100, Abingdon VA 24210 276-623-1121

  

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program seeks to holistically improve start-up opportunities for beginning farmers to establish and sustain viable agricultural operations and communities.

 

 

Ecological Farming Association Farmer Mentors
https://eco-farm.org/farmer-mentors
Eco Farm, 2901 Park Avenue Suite D, Soquel CA 95073
831-763-2111
info@eco-farm.org

 

EcoFarm offers a free mentoring program for apprentices, beginning farmers, and the farm-curious through Santa Cruz CRAFT.

 

 

MOFGA Journeyperson Program
http://www.mofga.org/Programs/JourneypersonProgram/tabid/228/Default.aspx
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, PO Box 170, Unity  Maine 04988
207-568-4142
mofga@mofga.org

 

MOFGA's Journeyperson Program provides hands-on support, training, and mentorship for people who are serious about pursuing careers in organic farming in Maine.

 

Farmer podcasts

 

Our very own Tractor Time is our favorite eco-agriculture podcast, but there are a lot of other wonderful sustainable agriculture podcasts out there that you can learn from. These are some of our favorites.

 

Tractor Time
http://ecofarmingdaily.com/category/tractor-time-podcast/
Acres U.S.A.
 

Hosted by Acres U.S.A. GM Ryan Slabaugh, Tractor Time interviews experts in eco-agriculture and replays some of the greatest talks from past Acres U.S.A. lectures and conferences. Each episode contains at least 45 minutes of conversations and ideas to take back to your farm.

 

 

Regenerative Agriculture Podcast
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/regenerative-agriculture-podcast
John Kempf


This is a show for professional growers who want to increase quality and yield. It's for growers and agronomists who want to learn about the science and principles of regenerative agriculture systems.

 

 

The Beginner Farmer Show
http://thebeginningfarmer.com/category/the-beginning-farmer-show/
Ethan Book

Ethan Book grew up on a quaint little street in Cedar Falls, Iowa playing with toy tractors on his bedroom floor and pretending to farm with his John Deere pedal tractor in the driveway. Weekends were often spent on his dad’s farm or the farms of his uncles and extended family. As Ethan grew up his dreams of being a farmer faded a little bit, but never truly went away.

 

 

The Permaculture Podcast
http://www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/
Scott Mann

The Permaculture Podcast is a globally respected go-to resource for all things permaculture with over 15,000 listeners per episode.

Back to the Roots
www.b2rpodcast.com
Bryan Wood and Mike Kline
contact@b2rpodcast.com

Our goal for this podcast is to connect people with organic farmers across the country, from Amish country in Ohio and Indiana to farmers on the West Coast. Join us as we travel back to the agricultural roots of our childhood and have conversations with farmers whose livelihood is Organic Farming.

 

Grants and Loans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find resources for financing, land grants and other resources available for starting farmers.

 

STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT

National Young Farmers Coalition – How to Manage Your Student Loans Now
http://www.youngfarmers.org/studentloans/repayment/
PO Box 1074, Hudson NY, 12534
518-643-3564
info@youngfarmers.org

Any federal student loan holder can take advantage of an alternative repayment plan that will lower the monthly payments. In addition, if you’re willing to postpone starting your own farm, there are some forgiveness programs that might help with your loans while working in an agriculture-related field.

 

National Young Farmers Coalition - Young Farmers Success Act
http://www.youngfarmers.org/studentloans/
PO Box 1074, Hudson NY, 12534
518-643-3564
info@youngfarmers.org

Information from the National Young Farmers’ Coalition about amending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to include farmers. This bill was created and referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on 2/15/17.

 

GRANTS 

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) 
https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/beginning-farmer-and-rancher-development-program-bfrdp
400 Independence Ave., SW Mail Stop 2201, Washington, DC 20250-2201
202-401-3669
karrington@nifa.usda.gov
Contact: Kendra Arrington, Grants Management Specialist

Provides grants to organizations for education, mentoring, and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers or ranchers

 

 

Farm Aid’s Farmer Resource Network
https://www.farmaid.org/our-work/resources-for-farmers/
Farm Aid, 501 Cambridge Street, Third Floor Cambridge, MA 02141
617-354-2922 from 9 am to 5 pm EST
farmhelp@farmaid.org - Joe Schroeder, Farm Advocate

List of services, resources and opportunities specific to individual farmers’ needs, includes an online assistance request form

   

 

USDA - Search for a Grant
https://nifa.usda.gov/grants
400 Independence Ave., SW Mail Stop 2201, Washington, DC 20250-2201
202-401-3669
karrington@nifa.usda.gov
Contact: Kendra Arrington, Grants Management Specialist,

Explains the grant process; search and apply for grants

 

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Guide to Grants & Loans
http://sustainableagriculture.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/NSAC_FoodSystemsFundingGuide_FirstEdition_4_2010.pdf
110 Maryland Ave NE # 209, Washington, DC 20002
202-547-5754
info@sustainableagriculture.net

The guide begins with a general overview of the USDA’s structure, followed by descriptions and details of fifteen grants and programs that are relevant to local and regional food systems development.

 

Food Animal Concerns Trust - Fund A Farmer Grant
https://foodanimalconcernstrust.org/grants/
3525 West Peterson Ave., Chicago IL 60659
773-525-4952
grants@foodanimalconcerns.org - Larissa McKenna 

Grants for projects that improve animal welfare for livestock and poultry farmers who want to obtain humane certification 

 

LOANS

 

USDA’s Farm Loan Program for Minority Women Farmers and Ranchers
https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/minority-and-women-farmers-and-ranchers/index
USDA, Farm Service Agency; Public Affairs Staff; 1400 Independence Ave., S.W.; STOP 0506; Washington, DC 20250-0506
844-872-4681, 8AM – 8PM EST Monday through Friday except federal holidays
Contact your state’s office. Find it here: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/state-offices/index

From the USDA: innovative loan products and initiatives to improve its ability to serve traditionally underserved farmers and ranchers

 

 

USDA Small Farm Funding Resources
https://www.nal.usda.gov/ric/small-farm-funding-resources
National Agricultural Library, 10301 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705
301-504-5755
Ask a Question online form: https://www.nal.usda.gov/ask-question

This guide contains information about issues to consider before starting a farming operation with links to full-text guides on how to start a farm business and develop business and marketing plans. It also contains information about funding programs for beginning and experienced farmers, technical assistance contacts, disaster assistance, and organizations with resources.

 

 

Farm Credit
https://farmcredit.com/
Find an office in your state: https://farmcredit.com/locations
202-626-8710
ask@farmcredit.com

A nationwide network of borrower-owned lending institutions that provide farm loans, rural loans and other ag loans across the U.S. 

 

 

Slow Money
https://slowmoney.org
28 groups throughout the United States. Find a group near you: https://slowmoney.org/local-groups
Contact them through their online contact form https://slowmoney.org/about/contact

The Slow Money Institute catalyzes the formation of self-organizing local groups, which use a diversity of approaches: public meetings, on-farm events, pitch fests, peer-to-peer loans, investment clubs and, most recently, nonprofit clubs making 0% loans. 

 

 

United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency
https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/
USDA, Farm Service Agency; Public Affairs Staff; 1400 Independence Ave., S.W.; STOP 0506; Washington, DC 20250-0506
844-872-4681, 8AM – 8PM EST Monday through Friday except federal holidays

Holds loan programs such as Operating Loans, Ownership Loans, and Microloans for beginning farmers.

 

 

ACCESS TO LAND

 

Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service – Land Link-up
https://mosesorganic.org/farming/land-link-up/
PO Box 339, Spring Valley, WI 54767
715-778-5775
info@mosesorganic.org

Free online service to connect farmers who are looking for land with available farmland through an ad posting forum.

 

 

USDA, FSA – Land Contract Guarantee Program
https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/land_contracts.pdf
USDA, Farm Service Agency; Public Affairs Staff; 1400 Independence Ave., S.W.; STOP 0506; Washington, DC 20250-0506
844-872-4681, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.M EST, Monday through Friday, except federal holidays

This program provides a valuable tool to transfer farm real estate to the next generation of farmer and ranchers through two loan guarantee options.