“Beginning farmers are a key to twenty-first-century agriculture," says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Clay Blackburn is a 25-year-old Missouri farmer who works several part-time jobs to keep his cow/calf operation growing. He currently leases 200 acres of land until he can build enough capital to buy.
“It’s tough for a young person to get started in farming,” said Blackburn. “Finding land is the most difficult thing, but I’m determined to eventually make this my full-time job.” Read more »
In an historic Cedar Rapids, Iowa, neighborhood devastated by floods in 2008, Secretary Tom Vilsack joined local leaders Saturday, October 27 for the dedication of a year-round local foods market. He called it a testament to neighbors and visionary leaders who saw a need for locally-produced foods, opportunities for entrepreneurs and a chance to rebuild local pride after the floods.
The NewBo City Market is located in Cedar Rapids’ New Bohemia district, home to generations of Czech and Slovak immigrants. Not far away is the Czech Village and the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library.
Up and down the Cedar Rapids neighborhood brick buildings from the late 19th century are being restored. A new coffee shop and bookstore are housed across from the market in the national register-listed Czech-Slovak Protective Society (CSPS) building. A mile to the north, a new library and a convention center complex will open next year. Four years removed from the floods, there is no doubt about it, Cedar Rapids is back. Read more »
Military veterans-turned-beginning-farmers learn how to build mobile poultry units at an Armed to Farm workshop. Photo credit: University of Arkansas
For many military veterans and their families, the transition from the military to civilian life is a complex undertaking; however, reports and personal accounts indicate that many military veterans have discovered that farming offers a place for employment, training and healing. The problem is there are few educational programs tailored to meet the particular needs and abilities of returning veterans.
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) makes it possible to fill that gap in training. At the University of Arkansas, Dr. Dan Donoghue used BFRDP funds to develop internships, workshops and online courses that focus on the needs of veterans interested in pursuing farming after their service to our country. Read more »
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. Read more »
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
Do you know who grew your food? Farmer’s markets, eating locally and even the USDA’s “Know your Farmer, Know your Food” campaign are all examples people wanting to know where their food comes from. But while the public’s interest in agriculture is rising, the age of the average American farmer is also on the rise. This is big concern for USDA and industry leadership – we wonder who will be growing your food in the future. Read more »
Young farmers in Florida participate in the New and Beginning Farmers Training Program to learn skills that will help them start successful farming operations.
The African-American farmer is a rare breed in the United States, and their numbers have declined dramatically over the past few decades. This trend, particularly, is due to the fact that young people are not entering the field to replace an increasingly aging population. In Florida, the average farmer’s age is 58.4, and approximately 45 percent of the farms in Florida are operated by farmers between 25 and 54 years of age. Read more »