Tag Archives: New Farmer Academy

Tennessee State University Receives USDA Grant to Aid Veteran, New and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

Funds focus on outreach and technical assistance to diversify American Agriculture

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has received funding to help beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, veteran farmers and ranchers build a more resilient agriculture system.

The University’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences received $188,055 recently from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of a $9.7 million grant to educate and provide technical assistance to agriculture businesses.

The grant, distributed through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Grant Program, will help faculty and extension agents from the University encourage, educate and assist socially and financially disadvantaged farmers and producers to operate their farms more efficiently, and if able, purchase new farmland and become even more successful farmers and producers.

“We will specifically focus on socially disadvantaged farmers and land owners, and try to educate them on a variety of financial and technical help, and the opportunities available,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean and director of Research and administrator of Extension in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. “We want to make sure that they are on an even footing with large-farm owners when it comes to technical assistance and funding opportunities.”

The grant money, according to Dr. Arvazena Clardy, assistant professor of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, will be used to conduct workshops around the state, and educate farmers and producers on business development and expansion, small herd management, plant nutrition, and food safety and new farm technology among other topics.

The grant will also be used toward a future New Farmer Academy where new owners and potential owners of small acreages receive training on ways to best utilize their land for crops and livestock. The most recent five-month academy graduated nine candidates who learned about opportunities to expand into new areas of production, gain access to and knowledge about federal funds and programs, as well as develop new marketing strategies to make them more successful.

The goal, said Clardy, is to work with small and limited resource producers, farmers and landowners, and work individually with them on specific problems related to their farms and production.

“We are committed to improving the economic conditions of the socially disadvantaged farmers and landowners here in Tennessee,” said Clardy. “This grant will give us the opportunity to educate them about the accessibility of programs and new farm technology, as well as provide hands-on training, and one-on-one outreach and technical assistance.”

The grant was announced December 3 by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, who described the funding as part of “our ongoing commitment” to identify, recruit and train a vibrant next generation of farmers and ranchers who can carry American agriculture into the future. “It is also part of our pledge to assist military veterans find economic opportunity as they return to civilian life,” Vilsack added.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

New Ag Academy Graduates Nine, Helps New Farmers and Returning Veterans Develop Successful Farming Skills and Techniques

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Nine farmers who completed a five-month training in modern farming techniques at TSU’s new Farmer Academy in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, receive their certificates following their graduation recently. The academy, organized by the Cooperative Extension Program, was intended for potential owners of small acreages looking for ways to best utilize their land for crops and livestock. Finis Stribling III, TSU Area Extension specialist, fourth from right (standing), was the coordinator of the program.


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
(TSU News Service) – Entering the modern farming industry as a newcomer requires specialized training to be successful, and Tennessee State University has answered the call with the establishment of a New Farmer Academy.

On Monday, the academy, organized by the University’s Cooperative Extension Program in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, graduated its first nine candidates after five months of extensive training.

Graduates included new owners and potential owners of small acreages looking for ways to best utilize their land for crops and livestock.

They covered topics such as agricultural leadership and regulations, financial planning, hydroponics and irrigation, organic production, farm equipment selection, Soil fertility and suitability, and value-added agribusiness, among others.

As a newcomer in the farming business, the academy was an eye opener for Alonzo Tate, a 2012 retired serviceman, who is looking for ways to improve his 200 acres in Oakland, Tennessee, where he raises goats, chickens, dairy cattle, and hopes to soon add hogs to the mix.

“In the 22 years I spent in the Navy, farming dramatically changed,” said Tate, “Not knowing that, I jumped in with both feet, buying goats and fencing and equipment, not really having any idea of the amount of knowledge that’s out there today. I could have saved myself a lot of money had I taken this class before I started.”

For farmers like Tate and his fellow graduates, many of whom already have established operations, the New Farmer Academy also presents opportunities to expand into new areas of production, gain access to and knowledge about federal funds and programs, as well as develop new marketing strategies to make them more successful in the long run, organizers say.

Although the program is new, organizers say how engaged the participants were during the course of the academy made a big difference and a great impact on the USDA’s recent call for new policy changes to “improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers.”

“This year has been a great success,” said Finis Stribling III, TSU Area Extension specialist and coordinator of the New Farmer Academy program. “We had a fairly small group, and the small class size was ideal in addressing the needs of each small farmer in the program.”

He said because each farmer faces unique and differenct challenges, they visited each participant’s farm to ensure the training was tailored to address their specific needs.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean and director of Research and administrator of Extension in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, congratulated the graduates for their perseverance and eagerness to develop new skills and improve themselves.

“We are proud of you and will continue to track your progress as you try to convert the ideas, concepts, and practical experiences you learned here into successful businesses,” Reddy said.

Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, associate vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs, echoed Dean Reddy’s sentiments of a hopeful future. “I congratulate you, I applaud your success, and, most importantly, I look forward to seeing what you accomplish in the future,” she said.

The Associate Dean for Extension, Dr. Latif Lighari, said the opportunity to train “burgeoning” new farmers and returning veterans was necessary to help them get the education, as well as develop the skills and training that would ensure long-term sustainable success.

“Part of our mission as a land-grant institution is to extend this kind of practical, research-driven information to the people who need it most,” Lighari said. “This group of upstart small farmers is an excellent example of the kinds of people who can partner with Tennessee State University, the CAHNS, and the Cooperative Extension Program to create a better, more prosperous tomorrow.”

Jai Templeton, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, one of many officials at the ceremony, reminded the graduates about their part in the state’s $67 billion farming and forestry industry, and thanked them for their commitment to the training program.

“I know the six month commitment you made here took you away from your farm but we’re looking to you to take this information back into your communities and be the leaders who help keep agriculture at the top of Tennessee’s economy,” the deputy commissioner said.

Plans are underway for the 2015 Farmer Academy, which is scheduled for June, organizers say. For more information visit www.tnstate.edu/agriculture or www.tnstate.edu/extension.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU’s Farmer Academy Inspires New Generation of Farmers

Academy Coincides with USDA’s Support for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

 

Krysta Harden, deputy secretary of Agriculture, addresses members of The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, and other stakeholders during her one-day visit to the University January 21. The USDA recently announced new policy changes meant to improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)
Krysta Harden, deputy secretary of Agriculture, addresses members of The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, and other stakeholders during her one-day visit to the University January 21. The USDA recently announced new policy changes meant to improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)  – The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences (CAHNS) Cooperative Extension Program at Tennessee State University began hosting a “New Farmer Academy” June 16 to help inspire a new generation of farmers, ranchers and returning veterans to develop successful small farm enterprises in Tennessee.

The program, which is directed toward owners and potential owners of small acreages who desire information on how to best utilize their land and other resources to produce crops and raise livestock, meets on the third Monday of each month from June to October, with graduation set for November 17.

According to Dr. Latif Lighari, associate dean for Extension, in addition to helping familiarize beginning farmers with the new USDA policies and website, the New Farmer Academy will provide six months of intensive, hands-on training on the practical aspects of running a farm.

“We also have arranged for a mentorship program with existing successful farmers who can provide valuable tips from their own experience,” said Lighari.

The academy coincides with a recent announcement from the U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden speaking about new policy changes meant to “improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers,” according to a USDA news release.

In addition to the policy changes, Deputy Secretary Harden, who visited TSU in January, unveiled a new website—www.usda.gov/newfarmers—to provide a convenient resource to help those farmers and ranchers take advantage of these programs.

“New and beginning farmers are the future of American agriculture,” said Deputy Secretary Harden. “The average age of an American farmer is 58 and rising, so we must help new farmers get started if America is going to continue feeding the world and maintain a strong agriculture economy. The new policies announced today will help give beginning farmers the financial security they need to succeed. Our new online tool will provide one-stop shopping for beginning farmers to learn more about accessing USDA services that can help their operations thrive.”

In May, the USDA announced a $6 million award to universities and cooperative state extension services to develop online decision tools and other materials and train experts to educate producers about several key farm bill programs. TSU received $30,000 under this program to educate farmers on how to use the new risk reduction policies and to develop web-based decision tools.

The cost to attend the academy is $150 per person and includes all educational material and a lunch at each session. To register, contact Rhonda Ewing at 615.963.1351 or rewing1@tnstate.edu.  For more information about this program, contact Finis Stribling at 931.375.5301 or fstribling@tnstate.edu.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Cooperative Extension’s Farmer Academy Training to Benefit Returning Veterans, Ranchers and New Farmers

Unknown-2NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension program in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences will host a “New Farmer Academy” to help inspire a new generation of farmers, ranchers and returning veterans to develop successful small farm enterprises in the state, beginning June 16.

The academy, which targets potential owners of small acreages who desire information on how to best utilize their land and other resources to produce crops and raise livestock, will meet on the third Monday of each month from June to October, with graduation set for November 17. Graduates will earn a certificate while gaining hands-on practical agricultural training and advice from mentors. Each participant will receive a notebook including workshop presentations and other helpful resources.

“Here at Tennessee State University, we are very pleased to provide this opportunity to anyone but specifically to new farmers and returning veterans who are interested in starting a small farm operation in Tennessee,” said Dr. Latif Lighari, associate dean for Extension.

Topics to be addressed during the six-month program include: Agricultural Leadership, Agricultural Regulations; Agri-Tourism; Enterprise Selection; Financial Planning; Fruit and Vegetable Production; Hydroponics and Irrigation; Organic Production; Farm Equipment Selection, Maintenance and Safety; Soil Fertility and Suitability; Small Flock Poultry Production; and Value-Added Agribusiness and Direct Marketing Techniques.

The cost to attend is $150 per person and includes all educational material and a lunch at each session. To register, contact Rhonda Ewing at (615) 963-1351 or rewing1@tnstate.edu. For more information about this program, contact Finis Stribling at (931) 375-5301 or fstribling@tnstate.edu.