Farm and Food

Resources, ideas and strategies for new and diversifying farmers and those interested in the comeback of the family farm

Whether your family has been farming or ranching for generations or you're just beginning a farm career, the Center for Rural Affairs has resources to help you grow a successful farm business.

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunities

New farmers and ranchers have unique needs. The Center for Rural Affairs offers resources and support to help beginning farmers and ranchers start successful farm careers.
 
Land Matching - Farm transfers between retiring farmers and a new generation of beginners are a great way to preserve family farms and help beginners break into farming and ranching.

Veteran Farmers Project

In the last 10 years, almost a million of our military’s servicemen and servicewomen have come from rural communities. As these veterans return home, they bring with them an opportunity to employ their passion, discipline, and sense of service to revitalize America’s small farms and rural communities. Learn more about our training and support programs for veteran farmers.

Women Farmers

The Center for Rural Affairs is partnering with Women, Food, and Agriculture Network (WFAN) to help aspiring and beginning women farmers turn their farming dreams into reality through training and mentorships with established women farmers. Learn more about upcoming opportunities for women farmers.

Farm Finances

Farms are businesses, and as with any business, sound financial planning is crucial to success. Considering your farm finances is especially important for beginners getting started and for landowners considering farm transfers.

High Value Markets

One key to having a viable small-scale farm is producing a high-value product. Customers will pay more for non-generic, non-commodity products that make are unique to your farm. These products return a higher profit to your farm business. 

Additional Farming Programs and Resources

Learn about additional resources available to help your farm grow and thrive.

Farm and Food Notes

 

Women's Learning Circle Case Study: Crystal Powers

Crystal Powers, co-owner and co-operator of Darby Springs Farm, in Ceresco, Nebraska, participates in our Women's Learning Circles.

Darby Springs Farm motivation and practices:

  • Motivation for farming is to help people restore land through sustainable agriculture.
  • Finds ways to utilize land to her advantage, rather than changing it for more convenient use.
  • Philosophy consists of much love and attention paid to livestock.

On Women's Learning Circles:

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Conservation Stewardship Program in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, and North Dakota

Working lands conservation programs, such as the Conservation Stewardship Program, provide the necessary tools for farmers and producers to maintain agricultural production on their land, simultaneously addressing resource concerns within their operations. Funding and strengthening working lands conservation programs ensure farmers and producers are supported and rewarded for their environmental stewardship.

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Beginning farmers stand to benefit from proposed act

The average age of today’s farmer is 58 years old. Over the course of the next five years (the duration of the next farm bill), nearly 100 million acres of farmland are predicted to change hands.

Some retiring farmers and ranchers will pass their land and operations to their children or other relatives, however, many are heading toward retirement without a succession plan in place.