Beginning Farmer & Rancher News

A Policy Agenda to Support Beginning Farmers

Since the Center for Rural Affairs began, we have been engaged in the debate over who will steward the land a generation hence.

In the last two farm bills, we helped pass new policy to support beginners. Wins included training programs, set-asides within farm conservation and financing programs, and increased support for new market development. These are good building blocks for a beginning farmer policy agenda.

Despite these gains, the share of beginning farmers continues to decline. Data shows beginners are more likely to farm smaller acreages and have smaller farm incomes – sometimes much smaller.

Top 5 of 2015: Crowdfunding Boosts Farm Efforts

The year in review countdown continues with number 4, by Wyatt Fraas, assistant director of our Farm and Community Program. Wyatt has an extensive background helping beginning farmers and ranchers get started. With over 20 years of experience at the Center, Wyatt is not one to let grass grow under his feet (pun intended!). Here he looks at the possibility of raising money online and what you can expect.

Ideas for Farming or Ranching on a Small Acreage

Recently a farmer in California emailed, looking for ideas for high-value crops or livestock suited to a small amount of land. I began as I normally do, with an upbeat, "Congratulations on considering a farm! There are many opportunities in farming now for people who look beyond simple commodity crops and livestock."

Then I shared some advice and the many places anyone in a similar situation can turn to for help.

Farming Fits Veterans and Veterans Fit Farming

The Center for Rural Affairs has worked to support and assist beginning farmers and ranchers for over 25 years. And increasingly, beginning farmer and rancher inquiries come from military veterans. They have the same needs as other new farmers: access to land, financing and information. But they also bring new issues: disabilities, returning to civilian life, a drive to help fellow veterans, a powerful sense of wanting to be of service to their country.


Get the Newsletter