The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $138,524 in funding for Michigan State University Extension to prepare aspiring farmers and ranchers to begin their own farm operations. The New FARM (Farm Assistance and Resource Management) program will help beginning farmers in northwestern Michigan engage in environmentally sustainable production and marketing strategies, enhance financial viability, increase competitiveness and market share, and increase access to and acquisition of farms and farmland. The project expects to enroll 45 participants in the first year.
The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded the grant through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). BFRDP is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers, specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or fewer.
Primary investigators on the grant are MSUE staff members Rob Sirrine, agriculture and natural resources educator; Nikki Rothwell, district horticulturalist and Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station (NWMHRS) coordinator; Erin Lizotte, Extension educator at the NWMHRS; and Cheryl Peters, Extension specialist.