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

 

Organic agriculture: consumer demand and economic opportunity

Organic farming is an important sector of our nation's agricultural economy. Organic agriculture is a viable model for economic growth and stability for many farmers. In some cases, the extra income from producing and selling organic products can allow family farmers to stay on their land.

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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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Placing local food on school lunch trays

Engaged communities and connections with farmers are helping make school lunches even better in rural communities. Across the country, kids are reaping the benefits and heading back to school with local foods on their plates.

Initiatives are being implemented throughout the U.S. In one state, “Nebraska Thursdays” urges participating schools to serve a locally-sourced meal in their cafeterias on the first Thursday of each month. Sourcing local products encourages fresh and healthy meals in the school cafeteria; educates students about agriculture; and boosts the area’s economy.

Initiative places local food on school lunch trays

Engaged communities and connections with farmers are helping make school lunches even better in rural communities. Our kids are reaping the benefits and heading back to school with local foods on their plates through a new initiative from the Center for Rural Affairs and Nebraska Department of Education-Nutrition Services.