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Transitioning to Farm Life: A WV New Farmer Orientation. Presented by: Brandy Brabham, WVU Extension ANR Agent-Roane County Alexandria Straight, WVU Extension ANR Agent-Ritchie County April 2, 2014 2014 National Women in Agriculture Educators Conference

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transitioning to farm life a wv new farmer orientation

Transitioning to Farm Life:A WV New Farmer Orientation

Presented by:

Brandy Brabham, WVU Extension ANR Agent-Roane County

Alexandria Straight, WVU Extension ANR Agent-Ritchie County

April 2, 2014

2014 National Women in Agriculture Educators Conference

The Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre, Indianapolis, IN

the simpler life
The Simpler Life
  • Many great resources out there to help
  • Compiling resources in one packet makes it easier for educators and clients
  • Plan for many consultations along the way
  • We try to encourage clients to keep coming back to the

theExtension Servicefor reliable and timely information

cooperative extension service
Cooperative Extension Service
  • The Extension Service is the HUB and should always be the 1st STOP
  • Discuss considerations needed before taking on a farm or ranch business
  • Help clients prioritize, plan, ask the right questions, and prepare
  • Referrals, Advice, Networking Opportunities, and Information
  • Income Needs & Wants
  • Insurance and Retirement Needs
  • Off-farm Jobs
  • Family
  • Risk Tolerance Level
  • Why does the client(s) want to farm?
  • What does the client(s) value as far as quality of life?
  • Does the client(s) family share the same level of commitment?
  • What knowledge of farming do they currently have?
  • Communication
  • Financial
  • Production
  • Management
  • Land & Capital
  • Labor
  • Marketing
  • Management

*Adapted from the OSU Extension Whole Farm Planning Model

preparing for the move
Preparing for the Move
  • Do the Homework
  • Build A Support Network
  • Reduce or Eliminate Other Debts
  • Live As If
    • Less trips to stores
    • Gardening
    • Food preparation and preservation
    • Alternative Heat Sources (Wood/Solar)
property considerations
Property Considerations
      • Survey-Determine Boundaries
      • Zoning
      • Taxes
      • Soils
      • Slope
      • Structures
  • Fields vs. Forested Land
  • Water Sources
  • Sunlight
  • Easements & Property Access
  • Utilities Availability-Power, Water & Septic, Heat Source, Phone, Internet
  • Neighbors
family responsibilities
Family Responsibilities
    • What are you willing to put off or forego to expand your small farm?
  • Everyone has tasks on a farm
  • Discuss Tasks
    • Book Keeping
    • Bill Payment
    • Farm Purchases
    • Household Purchases
    • Household Chores
    • Equipment maintenance
    • Farm Labor (www.
    • Farm Marketing
    • Etc.
do the homework
Do the Homework
  • Soil Testing
    • Find out the nutrients status of your soil & lime requirements
    • Apply only the necessary fertilizer, saving both time and money
  • Vegetable and Fruit Production
    • Determine what will grow here and when to plant it
    • Current disease prevention and management practices to utilize
    • Improve quality and quantity at harvest time
    • Apply the correct IPM strategies at the correct time
  • Insect Identification
    • Determine common pests for area and production planned
    • Seek specialized pest control recommendations
    • Learn to how to attract beneficial insects
do some more homework
Do Some More Homework
  • Food Preservation
    • Best practices for canning, freezing & other food preservation methods
    • USDA tested and approved canning recipes
    • Canner Inspection and testing
  • Farm Management
    • Information on new crops
    • Up-to-date animal science information
    • Proper harvest timing for high quality feeds
    • Forage and grazing optimization with seeding and nutrient management
    • Determine best control for problematic weeds
and more homework
And More Homework...
  • Marketing Assistance
    • Quality Assurance Calf Pools
    • Wool Pools
    • Heifer Development Program
    • Bull/Heifer Test Stations
    • Ram/Ewe Test Stations
    • Aquaculture Marketing Research
    • Farmers Market/ Direct Marketing Training
  • Breeding Stock
    • Current Producers and Regular Sale Dates
  • Direct Marketing Opportunities
    • Production planning
    • Marketing resources and classes
reality check
Reality Check
  • It’s a 2-Way Relationship
  • Educators assist in learning they don’t do the homework for the clients
  • Keep communication open
  • Direct clients to your programs and other beneficial organizations & agencies
provide sustainable advice
Provide Sustainable Advice
  • Consider grazing animals together
    • Large and Small Ruminants
    • Small Ruminants and Poultry
  • Utilize all available forages, and space
    • Let chickens forage after the gardens done
    • Use rabbit tractors to utilize lawn grass
  • Use bees to increase vegetable and fruit production
  • Use multi purpose animals (milk/meat/fiber)
  • Try new ideas and see what works for your farm. Start small and add as you go, Remember Farming is Risky Business!
prepare with food
Prepare with Food
  • Stock up onfood & supplies
  • Try favorites and new varieties when growing food
  • Preserve your harvest
  • Build a root cellar
  • Build a cold frame—a mini-greenhouse
  • Less expensive protein source
    • Raise rabbits, chickens, or fish
  • Learn to harvest and process meats
  • Consider splitting larger livestock meat sources

with other families

prepare with meat
Prepare with Meat
  • Per Capita Consumption in the US in 2009;
    • Beef-60.8 lbs
    • Pork-49.6 lbs
    • Lamb-1 lb
    • Chicken-79.1 lbs
    • Other Poultry-1lb

Source: USDA/Economic Research Service. Data last updated Feb. 1, 2011.

  • Generally,50 lbs of meat will fit in about 2.25 cu.ft. of cooler/freezer space.
    • Meat from 1/8 of a typical beef will weigh roughly 50-60 lbs
    • Meat from 1/2 of a typical hog will weigh roughly 60-70 lbs
    • Empty freezer compartment of a average-size, home refrigerator -4.8 cu.ft.
    • 1/8 a beef or ½ a hog should fit it in a mostly-empty home freezer.

Source: ISU Extension Beef and Pork Whole Animal Buying Guide, April 2009

  • This can be another source for a market and making your business plan!
prepare with plants
Prepare with Plants
  • A Vegetable Planting Guide can be used to determine the approximate amount of crop to plant for the desired yield, the amount of seed or number of transplants required for that amount of crop, and proper spacing between plants in a row.
  • This is an important planning tool when you identify your market.
  • Example: Virginia Tech gives approximate no. of row feet to

plant per person of assorted crops

food advice
Food Advice
  • Remember to grow and preserve only as much food as your family will eat in a year, or plan to sell at the local market
  • USDA recommends to use all canned, dehydrated, and frozen food one year after the preservation date.
  • Surplus food can be sold, traded with neighbors (barter) and used as gifts for family.
tax advice
Tax Advice
  • Generates the most questions
  • Be ready to answer
  • Have forms available
  • Set up tax workshops
grant advice
Grant Advice
  • Before you apply for a grant, you should also consider:
  • The grant process is competitive. Grant announcements must be monitored, grant proposals must be prepared and planned for, and applications must meet exact guidelines and be submitted on time. Grants are not a fast procedure, so plan in advance.
  • Most grants will only pay a percentage of costs, not 100%. You must be able to make up the difference.
  • Once awarded, grant recipients must meet outcomes, record keeping, reporting, and activity requirements associated with their grant.
  • Any grant funds you receive from the USDA and other organizations will be reported to the IRS on a form 1099. Therefore, you will need to report the income and associated expenses on your farm income tax return.
shared resources
Shared Resources,




start2farm gov purpose plan product people (Purpose, Plan, Product, People)
  • A database of programs and resources for beginning farmers and ranchers in the United States. 
  • Project of the National Agricultural Library in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federationfunded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
  • Developed to assist people new to farming or ranching and those who have less than 10 years experience.
If Female Clients…Start with Annie’s Projector any other special programs that YOU (the University) offers

West Virginia Annie’s Project

  • Risk Management Education for Farm Women
  • Began in 2012 with 6 sites and 1 on-line course
  • Expanded to 9 sites and 1 on-line site in 2013-2014 year
  • Developing Annie’s Project II
  • Website: www.wvuextension.wia.ext
  • State Coordinators: Dee Singh-Knights, 304-293-9101

and Brandy Brabham, 304-927-0975

*All Clients Need to think

About Risk Management!

wvu extension small farm center
WVU Extension Small Farm Center


  • The Small Farm Center, under the WVU Extension Service, was founded in 2009 and strives to increase the farmer’s bottom line by helping him or her retain more of the dollar spent on food in his or her community.
  • Host several conferences throughout the year to bring professionals and experts in certain topic areas to share their knowledge with small farmers who seek to expand their existing operation or try something new.
  • Small Farm Conference, Tri-State Food & Farm, Tax Schools, Risk Management Training, Record Keeping, WVU-Jackson’s Mill Market Garden, Grant & Funds Acquisition, and Renewable Energy
  • Tools for the Small Farmer

-Enterprise Budgets, Newsletter, etc.

wvu extension agrability
WVU Extension AgrAbility

  • A USDA funded program established to help people with disabilities remain active in agriculture.
  • If an accident or a chronic health condition has made it difficult for you to work or manage your farm, no matter its size, W.Va. AgrAbility can help you and your family members in many ways.
  • Makes direct on-the-farm visits to help develop solutions to meet specific needs.
  • Recommend safe affordable modifications to your home, land, vehicles, and farming equipment.
  • Puts you in contact with other West Virginia farm families who have had similar experiences so you can exchange ideas.
  • Helps you find funding support for the assistive technology and farm equipment modifications you may need.
  • Provides education on farm safety and injury prevention.
wvu organic farm
WVU Organic Farm

  • West Virginia University’s Organic Agriculture Research Farm is among the largest certified organic research farms dedicated to teaching, research and outreach. The Farm is one of the integral research facilities of the Division of Plant & Soil Sciences in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design.
  • The Organic Agriculture Farm provides a forum to link discovery with application. Research and teaching efforts support an increasing number of organic growers and gardeners. Opportunities abound for undergraduate and graduate student learning, and collaborative research endeavors involving a wide variety of academic disciplines offered by West Virginia University.
  • Overcoming the Market Barriers to Organic Production in WV
usda assistance risk management education center
USDA AssistanceRisk Management Education Center
  • Risk Management involves choosing among various risk management strategies and tools designed to reduce the financial effects of the uncertainties of weather, yields, prices, government policies, global economies, human factors, and other conditions that can cause dramatic fluctuations in farm income. 
  • Risk Management Education provides training that improves the ability of agricultural producers and their families to effectively manage risk.  Training addresses five general types of risk associated with farm and ranch businesses:

Production, Price or Market, Financial, Legal/Institutional & Human

usda assistance risk management agency
USDA AssistanceRisk Management Agency
  • The USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) offers subsidized crop and livestock insurance programs that cover losses due to a variety of causes.
  • They have links to RMA fact sheets on crop and livestock insurance plans relevant to West Virginia farmers at
  • State Contact- Tracy Fitzsimmons-304-558-2210
usda assistance adjusted gross revenue lite agr lite
USDA AssistanceAdjusted Gross Revenue-Lite (AGR-Lite)
  • Everyone has a different tolerance for risk.
  • Example: a small farm with 25 brood cows, maybe a market garden or even a small high tunnel, and a few sheep or goats. (Farmer’s income is derived from a unique mix of enterprises.)
  • Unavoidable natural disasters and market fluctuations can negatively affect profit on these operations.
  • In the past, there was no crop insurance products to protect small diverse farm.
  • This whole-farm revenue protection product is a new type of crop insurance that does not look at profit, yield, or price, but addresses and insures the farm’s gross revenue.
  • The AGR-Lite program (with some adjustments) is based on a farm’s 5-year average revenue as reported to the IRS and on the current year’s farm plan. It is available to farms that gross up to $2 million, but the policy size is limited to $1 million.

Due March 15

usda assistance nrcs
USDA AssistanceNRCS
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service
  • 30 field offices - engineers, conservationists, technicians, soil scientists, RC&D coordinators, and volunteers.
  • Partner with 14 conservation districts & 6 Resource Conservation and Development Councils.
  • Conservation Technical Assistance- Technical assistance may be provided to landowners whether or not they are enrolled in a USDA conservation program. NRCS promotes planning a total resource management system. This is a sustainable approach taking into account all of the natural resources in the planning area.
  • Conservation Planning-A conservation plan outlines the different practices or measures that a land owner may take to protect the natural resources on his or her property. A plan may address only one natural resource issue, or may be comprehensive, addressing all of the natural resources on the landowner’s acreage with several conservation practices.
  • Conservation Application-Conservation application involves the implementation of the conservation plan. This includes the actual construction of conservation practice or practices recommended by the conservation planner and are typically done by the landowner or a contractor.
usda assistance farm service agency
USDA AssistanceFarm Service Agency

  • FSA makes direct and guaranteed farm ownership (FO) and operating loans (OL) to family-size farmers and ranchers who cannot obtain commercial credit from a bank, Farm Credit System institution, or other lender. FSA loans can be used to purchase land, livestock, equipment, feed, seed, and supplies. Our loans can also be used to construct buildings or make farm improvements.
  • FSA provides education for their programs, financial management, & Laws & Regulations

Phone: 304-284-4800-WV State Office

usda assistance rural development
USDA AssistanceRural Development

Phone: 1-800-670-6553

  • The overall mission of USDA Rural Development is to increase the economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for all rural Americans. Have the responsibility of coordinating Federal assistance in rural areas of our great state.
  • It is Rural Development's intention to ensure rural citizens can participate fully in the global economy by providing technical assistance and programs to rural Americans.
state assistance west virginia secretary of state s office
State AssistanceWest Virginia Secretary of State’s Office

Business and Licensing (304) 558-8000 or (866) 767-8683

Start a New Business

  • Your decision about business structure will be very important to the future of your business. 
  • Eleven different business structures are defined by West Virginia law.  These structures provide different ownership configurations, differences in liability protection and other differences.  Some can be owned by an individual, some by one or more people, and others only by multiple people or companies. Visit their resource section, Get Startup Help for assistance. The decision you make will affect the information you must provide when you begin.
state assistance west virginia farm tax exempt
State AssistanceWest Virginia Farm Tax Exempt

WV State Tax Dept. 304-(304) 558-3333 or 1-800-982-8297

  • Any one claiming any exemption must obtain a business license. Ag Producers do not have to pay $30 fee.
  • Persons engaged in farming who sell less than $1,000 of products annually are not considered to be commercially producing agricultural products for sales and use tax purposes and are not eligible to purchase items exempt from sales or use tax.
  • If you sell productsat pick-your-own fruit and vegetable operations, farmers markets, roadside stands, or through similar operations, you are subject to sales tax.
  • Producers who sell their own livestock, poultry, or other farm products will not be required to collect sales tax if they are not engaged in making other retail sales.
  • The exemption from collection of the sales tax does not apply to producers who purchase livestock, poultry or other farm products for resale.
state county assistance wv farm use land exemption
State & County AssistanceWV Farm Use Land Exemption

WV Code 11-1A-10 and State Legislative Regulations (Title 110 Series 1A-1991)

  • The reduction is based on the FARM RENTAL value of the land instead of it's fair market value.
  • If your farm is less than 5 acres in size, you must produce at least $500 in "documented" cash sales of agricultural products.
  • If your farm is 5 acres or more, you must have at least $1,000 in sales, use, or consumption of agricultural products to qualify.
  • The owner does not have to be the person actually doing the farming of the property but they should make their own application if possible. If the owner is unable to do so, the operator of the farm can make application, provided the property qualifies for the exemption.
  • Application for Farm Use is from July 1st -September 1st each year.
  • What Do I Need to Know in Order to Make This Application
    • The breakdown of acreage into pasture, cropland, and woods.
    • The breakdown of cropland into crops grown (I.e. hay, corn, oats, tobacco, etc.)
    • The peak livestock inventory.
    • The dollar amount of your crop production and the dollar amount of your livestock production.
    • If you have mineral income on this property, this office needs to know the dollar amount you received during the past year.

*A person must make application each summer to qualify for the upcoming tax year. If you have any questions concerning Farm Use Exemption, please call the County Assessor's Office.

state assistance west virginia voluntary farmland protection act 2000
State AssistanceWest Virginia Voluntary Farmland Protection Act (2000)
  • Farmland Protection State Authority and County Boards
    • Assist in sustaining the farming community
    • Control the urban expansion which is consuming the agricultural land, topsoil and woodland of the state
    • Curb the spread of urban blight and deterioration
    • Protect agricultural land and woodland as open-space land
    • Enhance tourism

state assistance wv dept of agriculture
State AssistanceWV Dept of Agriculture


  • Market Bulletin
  • News Releases
  • Publications
  • Specialty Crops Grants-Due March 2014
  • Marketing Assistance --Labeling -- Marketing Directories -- Pricing Links
  • Agritourism Assistance
  • Regulatory Departments
    • Animal Health, Livestock Auctions
    • Eggs, Plants, Nursery Listing, Meat & Poultry Inspection, Seeds, Milk, Honey
state assistance specialty crop block grants
State AssistanceSpecialty Crop Block Grants
  • WV Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
    • Annual Grant
    • Up to $10,000
  • Should focus on one or more of the following:
    • Promotion/Marketing
    • Research
    • Education/Training
    • Innovation/Efficiency (Facilities/Equipment)
state assistance veterans to agriculture
State AssistanceVeterans to Agriculture
  • Proposed in Legislature to use state land to feed people, with subsided land lease to veterans.
  • Land will be put to use to offer “green therapy” as well as provide a self sufficient system to feed hospitals, schools and prisons. Equipment and marketing will be run as a cooperative
  • Currently there is land in Mason County that is going to be used to teach veterans about beekeeping and pollinators
state regional assistance wv northeast sare
State & Regional AssistanceWV & Northeast SARE

Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) program has been the go-to USDA grants and outreach program for farmers, ranchers, researchers and educators who want to develop innovations that improve farm profitability, protect water and land, and revitalize communities. To date, SARE has awarded $171 million for more than 4,200 initiatives.

  • 4 regional councils of expert practitioners set priorities and make grants in every state and island protectorate.
  • SARE Outreach has produced a library of how-to books, bulletins and online courses for producers and researchers on everything from clean energy farming to direct marketing to raising pastured poultry.
state regional assistance wv northeast sare1
State & Regional AssistanceWV & Northeast SARE

Sustainable Agriculture Research Education-Most Grants Due Dec. 1st

  • Farmer Grant
  • Partnership Grant
  • Sustainable Community Grant
  • Graduate Student Grant
  • Professional Development Grant
  • Research and Education Grant
  • Agro ecosystems Research Grants
  • Conference and Workshop Support

WV Enterprise Budgets are being developed/ refer to close or similar state:

    • PA- and
    • VT-
    • MD-
    • VA-
    • OH-
state assistance wv conservation agency
State AssistanceWV Conservation Agency


The WV Conservation Agency and the WV Conservation Districts provide a variety of Conservation activities and events. Each district has its own educational programs as well as participates in state wide programs.


  • Lime Incentive Program- provides up to a 50 percent cost-share reimbursement to eligible farmers for the purchase of agricultural lime to improve their grasslands.
  • Agriculture Enhancement Program (AEP) is a pilot program administered by the WVCA through conservation districts to increase farm productivity by conserving soil, making wise use of agricultural resources and improving water quality in the state’s streams and rivers. The program offers technical and cost-share assistance.
  • Emergency Watershed Protection is only used during a State or Federal Emergency Declaration in response to a sudden disaster to remove blockages causing a 75% obstruction to stream flow and not for maintenance issues such as removing trash.
  • Stream Protection & Restoration Program (SPRP) is used to cover non-emergency situations that fall outside of the Emergency Watershed Protection program. -Blockage removal from Legislative or Citizen Contact Reports; & planned projects using Natural Stream Restoration designs.

Equipment Rentals

funding and business assistance small business administration
Funding and Business AssistanceSmall Business Administration
  • Farming is a business
  • What does SBA offer to small business owners? SBA can help facilitate a loan for you with a third party lender, guarantee a bond, or help you find venture capital. Understanding how SBA works is the first step towards receiving assistance.
funding assistance farm credit of the virginias
Funding AssistanceFarm Credit of the Virginias

www.farmcreditofvirginias.comor 800-919-3276

  • Real Estate and Farm Improvement Loans-Fixed, variable and adjustable rate mortgages, will finance full and part-time farms, and make long-term rural home loans.
  • Equipment Loans- Upgrade or replace inefficient equipment and take advantage of dealer cash discounts by financing through Farm Credit.
  • Operating Loans-. Payment schedules can be established to conform with your income from crop or livestock sales. An operating loan gives you the opportunity to locking in prices by paying ahead, and tax benefits for prepayment of some expenses.
  • Automobile and Personal Loans-Provide loans for cars or trucks, college tuition or just about any credit need for farm owners and operators.
  • Young Farmer Institute-April 2014
funding assistance natural capitol investment fund
Funding AssistanceNatural Capitol Investment Fund

1098 Turner Road, Shepherdstown, WV 25443Phone: 304-876-2815 Website:

  • NCIF provides patient capital to small and emerging natural resource-based businesses. Our investments support business expansion, create employment opportunities, advance sustainable economic development and develop the rural tax base.
  • Clients are located throughout North Carolina, Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and West Virginia, and have limited access to capital from traditional sources. In addition to providing critical, timely financing, NCIF provides targeted technical assistance to build the non-financial capacity of our clients.
marketing business assistance wv value chain cluster initiative
Marketing & Business AssistanceWV Value Chain Cluster Initiative

17 West Virginia Counties covering about 1/3 of the state

  • Technical assistance valued at $3,000 to $5,000 per business or group
  • Larger amounts for feasibility studies
  • Use competitive bid process to select consultants
  • Consultants paid directly by program
  • HACCP Plans
  • Recipe Formulation
  • Facility Design & Compliance with State & Federal Regulations
  • Website Development & Label Design
  • Transition to Organic Certification
  • Jill Young, VC2 Technical Assistance Coordinator
state networking assistance west virginia food farm coalition
State Networking AssistanceWest Virginia Food & Farm Coalition

(304) 877-7920 or (304) 460-4869 or

  • Focused on Local Foods Promotion based on WV & National Research
  • Free Biweekly E-Newsletter- topics on food & agriculture issues in W V
  • Forums and Networking events to connect farmers and food buyers
  • Collaborated with farmers, agencies & organizations, institutions, and food businesses to develop “West Virginia's Roadmap for the Food Economy”
  • Provide research, data, and policy support to further WV’s Food Economy
  • Provide general resources and networks listings for farmers, including grants, apprenticeships, training, funding for land and capital
marketing tools animal welfare approved
Marketing ToolsAnimal Welfare Approved
  • Good Husbandry Grants
    • Priorities: improved genetics, increased outdoor access, welfare improvements in the slaughter process and non-lethal predator control
    • Up to $5,000
  • Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) is a food label for meat and dairy products that come from farm animals raised to the highest animal welfare and environmental standards. The program was founded in 2006 as a market-based solution to the growing consumer demand for meat, eggs and dairy products from animals treated with high welfare and managed with the environment in mind.
marketing tools certified naturally grown
Marketing ToolsCertified Naturally Grown
  • Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) is a non-profit organization offering certification tailored for small-scale, direct-market farmers and beekeepers using natural methods. 
  • Certification model encourages collaboration, transparency, and community involvement. Peer-review inspection process
  • CNG producers don't use any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or GMO seeds, just like organic farmers. Certified Naturally Grown is an independent program not affiliated with the USDA’s National Organic Program.
  • CNG is nationally recognized and endorsed
state assistance wv agricultural groups
State AssistanceWV Agricultural Groups
  • West Virginia Farm Bureau
  • West Virginia Agri-Women -
  • West Virginia Cattlemen's Association-
  • West Virginia Poultry Association-Moorefield, WV 304/538-2725
  • West Virginia Shepard’s Federation-
  • West Virginia Beekeepers-
  • WV Queen Producers-
  • WV Extension Master Gardeners
  • WV Farmers Market Association
  • Appalachian Goat Association
  • WV Breed Associations
state federal assistance agricultural websites
State & Federal AssistanceAgricultural Websites

West Virginia Agencies

  • West Virginia Department of Agriculture-
  • West Virginia Farm Service Agency-
  • West Virginia Field Office, USDA, NASS-
  • West Virginia FFA Association-
  • West Virginia Natural Resources Conservation Service -
  • West Virginia Rural Development -

Extension Service

  • West Virginia University Extension Service
  • West Virginia State University Extension Service-

USDA Agencies

  • Agricultural Research Service, USDA-.
  • Economic Research Service, USDA-
  • National Agricultural Library-
  • National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA-
  • United States Census of
  • United States Department of Agriculture-
  • World Agricultural Outlook Board, USDA, OCE-

Other Federal Agencies

  • Centers for Disease Control and
  • National Weather Service-
  • United States Government Export Portal
  • United States Government’s Official Web Portal-
public private university assistance other new farmer resources
Public, Private, & University AssistanceOther New Farmer Resources
  •– very comprehensive set of resources for new farmers
  • The Greenhorns– Links to a variety of resources for young farmers
  • RECOMMENDED:  Greenhorns Guide to Beginning and Young Farmers – a good first stop for any new farmer
  • Heritage Radio Network offers The Greenhorns’ weekly radio show and its archives  – mostly interviews with young and experienced farmers, good free listening anytime with streaming audio
  • Exploring the Small Farm Dream, developed by the New England Small Farms Institute, includes a detailed workbook, curriculum and presentation designed to help aspiring small farmers determine whether a farming career is right for them
  • Northeast Beginning Farmers offers a variety of resources for beginning farmers. West Virginia is considered part of the Northeast according to USDA’s SARE program definition, so West Virginians can often take advantage of resources available for Northeastern farmers
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension's online courses for beginning farmers cost $150 per course
  • The National Young Farmers Coalition – Become connected to a national coalition that seeks to set a policy agenda meeting young farmers’ needs
  • Serve Your Country Food– Map yourself as a young farmer or aspiring farmer and learn about other young farmers across the country
apprenticeships internships assistance
Apprenticeships & Internships Assistance
  • Farm apprenticeships or internships are highly recommended to any agriculturally inexperienced person who’s considering a career in farming. Actual farming experience is also a precondition for receiving many agricultural start-up loans. However, it is important to choose wisely when selecting a host farm for your experience
  • Before using an online database to find a host farm, ask people you know if there are any farmers who might be looking for free or cheap part-time farming help in your area. This will help you build important and helpful farmer relationships while gaining experience that is appropriate to your area
  • Be sure to meet the host farmer in person, see their farm and ask lots of questions
  • HelpXfarms who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation
  • ATTRA Internship postings – lists U.S. opportunities
  • Organic Volunteers– lists U.S. opportunities 
  • Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Apprenticeships– well-organized, lists opportunities in Maine
  • Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF) – lists opportunities outside the U.S. Some countries require a fee before showing you the postings
  • ATTRA’s Farm Intern Handbook offers a helpful educational companion for farm interns (or farmers working with interns)
final thoughts
Final Thoughts
  • Adapt to fit your own state or county
  • Developed as a training course
  • Remember in this ever changing world of the internet, Extension needs to be the website that is first visited. Make your mark and do your homework so Extension can stay as the go to place for accurate information.
  • Encourage visits and help this new emerging clientele feel welcomed!


Thank You!

Alexandria Straight

WVU ANR Extension Agent, Ritchie County


Brandy Brabham

WVU ANR Extension Agent, Roane County