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

 

Conservation Innovation Grants Beginning Farmer Case Study: Alex McKiernan and Chloe Diegel

Alex McKiernan and Chloe Diegel own Robinette Farms near Martell, Nebraska. Robinette Farms is comprised of 110 acres, with 10 to 12 acres for vegetable production. They grow 40 varieties of crops, during both the warm and cool seasons, utilizing unheated hoop houses and greenhouses. There is also a variety of grazing livestock, including cattle, hogs, broilers, laying hens, and lambs.

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Conservation Innovation Grants Beginning Veteran Farmer Case Study: Mariel and Anthony Barreras

Mariel and Anthony Barreras own Barreras Family Farm near Blair, Nebraska. Their current operation is primarily comprised of animals: 25 beef, 12 goats, 12 hogs, and 800 pastured chickens on 70 acres. They also host agrotourism and community events.

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Public invited to comment on new Conservation Stewardship Program rule

Changes are coming to the nation’s largest conservation program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking public comments on a new rule.

On Nov. 12, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which offers farmers and ranchers a valuable opportunity to build on and increase conservation on their operations.

The 2018 farm bill made a variety of changes to CSP, and this rule is the process where the USDA puts them into action. The changes include: 

Conservation practices breed longevity and success

Though Del Ficke had an established career in the health care industry, his heart was always back home on the family farm.

The draw of wide open spaces and working with livestock was too much to resist. So, for 30 years, Del has made agriculture his priority, and takes pride in managing Ficke Cattle Company in Pleasant Dale, Nebraska.