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Curriculum for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (Mentees)

All Virginia Farm Mentor Network participants are required to complete a module on Intro to Whole Farm Planning.  The purpose of this module is to help beginning farmers and ranchers in Virginia to make informed farm planning decisions by introducing them to the whole farm planning process.  The module includes key concepts, worksheets, and case study examples to provide the framework and inspiration you will need to plan your own farm.  

The required Introduction to Whole Farm Planning module is part 1 of a 5 part series.  For more info on full Whole Farm Planning Opportunities, please visit the Whole Farm Planning Page.  

Curriculum for Experienced Farmers and Ranchers (Mentors)

Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Program will be working with mentor curriculum developed by the New England Small Farm Institute.  Two workbooks will be offered to guide the experienced farmer through the mentor training process. The first workbook will be used as a decision making workbook, Cultivating a New Crop of Farmers; Is On-Farm Mentoring Right for You and your Farm?   This workbook will answer the question, What is a Farm Mentor?, and begin to discuss the knowledge and skills required of experienced farmers (mentors).  The second workbook, The On-Farm Mentor's Guide; Practical Approaches to Teaching on the Farm provides the Mentor with direction to the pragmatic, on the farm style of learning  required while hosting trainees (mentees) on the farm. 

Smith, M. (2005). The On-Farm Mentor's GuidePractical Approaches to Teaching on the Farm. New England Small Farm Institute. Belchertown, MA.

Hayes, K. (2005).  Cultivating a New Crop of Farmers: Is On-Farm Mentoring Right for You and your Farm? A Decision-Making Workbook. New England Small Farm Institute. Belchertown, MA.



If you want to stay informed about our program activities using social media, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or subscribe to our listserv.  If you have comments or questions, please contact Allyssa Mark by email.

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 niewolny@vt.edu or 540-231-5784.


For website updates, such as broken links, please contact Allyssa Mark, Program Associate.