Welcome to the Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Program
Starting a farm is difficult, and succeeding beyond the first few years may be even more so. Beginning farmers and ranchers nation-wide face unique challenges to achieve their farm goals and aspirations. The long-term goal of the Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Program (VBFRCP) is to improve opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers to establish and sustain viable agricultural operations and communities in Virginia. To reach our goal, we support the development and enhancement of whole farm planning curriculum and training, online resources, social networking, and farmer mentoring. Unique to this state-wide Extension program is its coalition of agricultural organizations and farm business that work together to develop and implement these programming aims.
During the spring and summer of 2015, members of the VBFRC interviewed the owners of five farms across Virginia to ask about their experiences and enterprises. Each farmer discussed how they got started in farming, their primary products and markets, labor practices, and a variety of other topics related to their farms. These conversations were recorded for the purpose of creating videos that will help beginning and established farmers and ranchers in Virginia learn more about other Virginia farmers while gaining valuable information about how different farms are operated. To view these videos, visit our YouTube channel.
The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition held an election this July to add two new members to the VBFRC advisory group. The advisory group consists of committed individuals from the Coalition who represent both farmer and service provider perspectives in Virginia. This elected advisory group is responsible for providing input to guide program activity to best address the expressed needs of the Coalition. We are excited to announce the two newest members of the VBFRC advisory group: Anne Geyer and Patrick Johnson!
In December 2015, the Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition (VBFRC) disseminated over $30,000 of mini-grant funds to Coalition partner organizations for seven 2016 programming opportunities aimed at supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers in Virginia. This initiative is being repeated for the 2017 year. Visit this page to read more about past and current VBFRC coalition partner mini-grant projects.
Coalition Media Releases
- Virginia Tech Reinvigorates the Aging Farming Population (Exercpt in the Virginia Tech 2014 Annual Report)
- Just the Beginning - A feature in the Virginia Tech Magazine (Fall 2014)
- Farm bill helps new farmers grow roots
- Virginia Tech helps cultivate new farmers
- Virginia's Farm Link (video)
- VDACS Commissioner Matt Lohr talks about turning a childhood fascination into a career
- Virginia Tech News Release
The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Program is a state-wide and coalition-based Extension program housed in Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education. Funding was sponsored by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Award #2015-70017-22887. For more information, contact Kim Niewolny, Program Director and Extension Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-231-5784.
For website updates, such as broken links, please contact Allyssa Mark, Program Associate.