We know that America’s farmers and rural communities are vitally important to our nation’s economy, producing the food, feed, fiber and fuel that continue to help us grow. There are hundreds of programs and resources available to help meet these efforts. However, sometimes it’s hard to know where to look. To overcome this challenge, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Library, in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation, has created www.Start2Farm.gov ,an online database connecting beginning farmers and ranchers with available programs and resources.
Start2Farm.gov allows potential and beginning farmers to search for programs and resources for training, financing, technical assistance, and business-to-business support. The database, which includes hundreds of records, is searchable by geographical area or by topic. Additional features include a ‘Thinking about farming?’ tutorial, and an event calendar.
Start2Farm.gov was funded via the NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), a competitive grant for America’s new farmers and ranchers. In 2009, the first year of NIFA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, three-year grants supported training for 5,000 beginning farmers and ranchers. In 2011, it is anticipated that these grants will have supported training for more than 10,000 beginning farmer and ranchers. In addition to offering resources and information for new and beginning farmers, State2Farm.gov will coordinate the efforts and stories of all BFRDP grantees.
Start2farm.gov will be showcased at the American Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Rancher Conference, to be held February 18-20 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.