Academy Coincides with USDA’s Support for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about this program, contact Finis Stribling at 931.375.5301 or email@example.com.
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