Farmers are the backbone of resilient local and regional food systems, yet many are aging or retiring. The FarmLASTS Project at the University of Vermont estimates that 70 percent of farmland in the United States will change hands over the next two decades. The age of the average U.S. farmer is 58.3 years old, and rural populations are declining as a percentage of the national population, according to U.S. Census Data.
To create a sustainable food system, we need to cultivate young farmers. Supporting beginning farmers needs to be a collaborative effort—one that connects young people with both financial and technical resources and provides the knowledge necessary to develop a successful business. New farmers also need sustainable funding and mutual partnerships with investors, which are increasingly found outside of traditional investment models.
“When starting a business, it is very important to have accurate information that feeds into your business plan,” says beginning farmer Dan Berube. “Expectations are everything in life. Many beginning farmers are coming from families that haven’t farmed for a few generations now, so it is hard for them to know what they are getting themselves into.”
Researchers from Tufts University note that new farmers are more likely to face financial hardships than veteran farmers. Beginning farmers lack access to land, capital, and established marketplaces for their products. Moreover, new farmers often lack the technical expertise and business knowledge needed to run a successful farm.
Food Tank is highlighting 30 resources available for producers who are working to create food sovereignty and sustainable farm business models, ranging from food and farm incubators to sources of grant money and microloans. Fortunately, food incubators and accelerator programs can offer business support from industry experts, technical assistance, introductions to markets, mentoring, and training, thereby helping new and existing farmers to overcome barriers to entering farming. These initiatives help beginning farmers to launch new businesses, expand existing operations, and increase their incomes. more
- Business Administration
- Organization & Bookkeeping
- Financial Statement Reports
- Business Identity: Branding
- Design Services & Custom Products/Packaging
- Graphic Communication Services & Signage
Fair World Project: “Small-Scale Farmers Cool the Planet.” A 17-minute documentary highlighting the role of industrial agriculture in climate change while expounding on how small farmers are combating the climate crisis through regenerative organic agriculture.