Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched the New Farmers web tool targeted at providing new and young farmers, veterans, women in agriculture, and farmers in transition with the necessary tools for success. The page was created using feedback from farmers and ranchers across the country, and specifically tailored to highlight the USDA’s programs and resources. It contains information on how to write a business plan, obtain loans, file taxes, and more. The site’s Discovery Tool can be used to build a personalized set of recommended USDA programs and services that may meet the user’s needs.
For new farmers, the site provides detailed strategies for success. It poses important considerations before starting a farm and breaks down the beginning steps into manageable tasks. The New Farmers site offers technical assistance for writing a business plan, accessing land and capital, managing risk, and building a market.
The 2012 Census of Agriculture notes that nearly 1 million women are working America’s lands – almost a third of all US farmers. Together, these women generate US$12.9 billion in annual agricultural sales. For these women so integral to the nation’s food security, the New Farmers web tool provides resources, leadership opportunities, success stories, and ways to get connected.
The New Farmers webpage encourages young farmers to support agriculture and conservation at their schools by starting 4-H clubs and school gardens. It also connects veterans with USDA-funded organizations devoted to providing technical assistance and training to beginning farmers, as well as provide farms in transition with options for selling or leasing land.
In addition to the unveiling of the new website, USDA announced that US$5.6 billion will be allocated over the next two years to USDA programs and services that serve new and beginning farmers and ranchers. The goal is to increase participation by an additional 6.6 percent across key USDA programs.