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Recent posts by Wyatt Fraas

Rating the Chances of Success for a 1st-Generation Farmer or Rancher

"Based on your experience, what are the chances of a first generation farmer/rancher succeeding? I keep hearing people say that I am likely to fail within the first year."

That question came in an email. I began with my usual reply: "Congratulations on considering a farm! There are many opportunities in farming now for people with dedication and vision."

Rural Rockstar: Dan Hromas, Veteran Beginning Farmer, Receives Sustainable Agriculture Award

Dan Hromas of York, Nebraska, is the recipient of the Center for Rural Affairs’ 2014 Bob Steffen Pioneer Award. It honors his integrity, leadership, and extraordinary efforts in sustainable agriculture.

This beginning farmer exemplifies service to his community of veterans and neighbors. He returned from duty after 20 years of service in the military, and decided he wanted to farm and work for himself. But he couldn’t afford land or cows, so he started with chickens.

Crowdfunding Boosts Farm Efforts, No Substitute for Hard Work

Crowdfunding – a popular form of Internet-based donations, loans, or investments – has come to farm country. When bank loans or profits are unavailable, you can access funding through these websites.

The basic idea is to gather a large number of people (your “crowd”) who give small amounts of money to collectively fund a project. Donors give money because they believe in the business goals or like the business owners. In turn, they often receive a thank-you reward such as a farm product.

Farm Transitions: Maintaining Ownership and Providing Retirement Income

A common quandary for heirs of senior landowners is how they can maintain ownership and operation of the farm while providing retirement income for their parents. Often the farm assets represent all of the retirement savings. Not only may there be an extended period of retirement without earned income, but eventual nursing home expenses may be great enough to consume the value of the estate.

This can be a complicated situation to plan, with taxes, Medicaid rules, and differing goals of each family member. But it does take planning to make the best outcomes possible.

Put Family Farmers Back into Farm to School

Farm to School programs appeared in the 90s with a three-way focus: fresh, local foods in schools; agriculture and nutrition education in classrooms; and purchases that support local family farms. Years since have seen these programs grow to include 40,000 schools and 23 million students.
 

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