Kentucky FarmStart Program Helps Beginning Farmers

The University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University have teamed up to help beginning farmers navigate the business and science of farming. KyFarmStart offers mentorship, educational opportunities, skills-building, access to resources and field trips to folks who have been farming for less than 10 years. From the KyFarmStart website:

KyFarmStart is designed as a two-year producer education program. In year 1, producers will participate in a series of 12 face to face education programs, including nine traditional county extension meetings and three on-farm demonstrations/farm field day experiences. Additionally, all of the curriculum will be made available as an on-line course to provide all producers the opportunity to take part in the program, even if they are unable to attend the classroom portion. Producers may choose to participate in the classroom education, on-line, or both. In year 2, producers will be matched with a successful farmer mentor.

The mentorship program will work with beginning farmers to connect them with experienced farmers with a similar enterprise interest, so that they will have a mentor that understands the challenges, both production and financial, that the operation will face. This will assist producers in translating the knowledge gained in the classroom to on-farm practical experiences. Kentucky Women in Agriculture and the Kentucky Cattleman’s Association will assist in the identification and training of mentors.

 

The goal of the KyFarmStart program is to assist clientele in evaluating their land, labor, and other resources in an effort to make management decisions that are profitable for their operation. Through this process, producers will learn about enterprise identification, management, marketing, farm safety, and production. One of the primary goals of both programs is to assist producers in developing a whole farm management plan.

Classes are currently being offered in Whitley and Laurel counties, and Boyd and Lawrence counties (pdf). Contact your extension agent to find out about classes in your area.