Beginning Farmer & Rancher News

For beginning farmers, opportunity may lie in being creative

This is a time of tremendous opportunity in farming and ranching for beginners graduating from college or looking to start a venture of their own. Alternative crops and high value markets offer profit potential and lower risk for new farmers.

If land ownership is the preferred route, funding will have to come from savings, bootstrapping, investors/partners or loans. There are no grants, or free money, for farm startup and operation.

Beginning Farmers: I want to start farming. Is it feasible?

I just graduated college and I want to start farming, is it feasible? What are my options?

This is a time of tremendous opportunity in farming and ranching. Commodity production (undifferentiated crops and livestock sold into “commodity markets”) has minimal profit margin, unpredictable price swings, and many risks for a small, uncapitalized, inexperienced farmer. That type of farming is best entered with substantial farming-family support.

Retiring Farmers: What makes a good successor?

Retirement is when the owner departs from labor and management of the farm business. Retirement may not mean moving away or giving up on mentoring the next generation, but it does entail leaving management decisions to someone else. It can be a gradual or sudden process. It may be driven by long-term goals, health issues or events outside your family.

Top 5 of 2016: A Policy Agenda to Support Beginning Farmers

Countdown time! With less than one week remaining in 2016, we thought a recap was in order. So here's a review of the five best Center stories of the year, chosen by the most views on our website. Number five was drawn from remarks made to the Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders at their policy briefing in Des Moines about our fight for beginning farmer policy reform. It was written by Brian Depew, executive director, who has been standing up for family farms his whole life.

Sign up now for the Conservation Stewardship Program

We’d like to let you know about an open funding opportunity for conservation. The signup process for the updated Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is now open and applications are being accepted.

Your initial application is due Feb. 3, 2017. To enroll in the 2017 program, submit an application to the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) by Feb. 3. For this application, you don’t have to know all of the details about the conservation practices that will be the best fit for you and your operation. Those details are worked out with NRCS later on the process.  


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