Before starting a new farm business, you need to consider many things. What rules and regulations apply to your business? Which levels of government (city, county, state, federal) are responsible for which regulations? What permits will you need? What are the business structure options for your farm? What are your tax liabilities? The National Center for Appropriate Technology and the ATTRA Project provides robust resources on types of rules, regulations, and other things you should be aware of prior to starting your farm business.
Cornell University’s Beginning Farmer website offers step-by-step help in writing a business plan, as well as information on farm incubators, how to deal with land access, and a series of courses, webinars, and guides to help new and beginning farmers through the process of developing your farm business.
Greenmarket is an organization hosting farmer’s markets around NYC through Grow NYC. It’s technical assistance program, FARMroots, provides business training to aspiring farmers. FARMroots also offers workshops, short-term, and long-term technical assistance to Greenmarket producers.
Hawthorne Valley Farm provides workshops and lectures to farmers and producers, including workshops on the subject of Biodynamics. They offer a variety of farm apprenticeships including apprenticeships focused on: Whole Farm, Dairy Herd Management, Vegetable, Field Manager Assistant, and Advanced Apprenticeships.
Hawthorne Valley Farm also hosts the Institute for Mindful Agriculture, which offers courses and mindful farmer trainings.
Land Stewardship Project is designed to help beginning farmers get started. Among the resources they offer is a detailed “Farm Transition Toolkit”, networking opportunities, and workshops. Land Stewardship Project (and most of their classes) are based in Minnesota, but many of their guides and resources are relevant nationally.
New England Small Farm Institute’s website has a whole section for new farmers (defined as anyone running their farm for 10 years or less). This website includes courses offered throughout the Northeast, as well as planning guides, and a resource page to help with every aspect of planning and running your new farm.
The seed farm offers a 9-month intensive farmer training program for new farmers. Based in Emmaus, PA, and partnering with Penn State University, the farmer training covers a variety of topics including tractor maintenance, produce production, and more.
Agriculture is full of exciting and rewarding opportunities. Farming is a tough job, but at the heart of it all, you’ll see a vibrant community contributing to the future of our nation’s health and food security. Find the resources you need to get started here.
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