We have seen a lot of changes and progress with the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program since our last blog post! We thought we would reopen our blog with an update on some of our goings-on in the last year. In addition to reading this blog post, you can view our most recent newsletter here.
Farmer Mentoring Program
Our farmer mentoring program is in full swing! Our goal this year is to focus on local community mentoring in three locations across Virginia: the New River Valley, far southwest Virginia (e.g. Wise, Lee, and Washington Counties), and the Loudon County area of northern Virginia. Our farmer mentor coordinators hold on-farm events and hands-on learning experiences to link beginning farmers with experienced farmers. So far, two Twilight Farm Tours have taken place this summer at the Kentland Farm in Blacksburg, VA and Brann-King Farms in Riner, VA. Visit the events page of our website to keep updated on Virginia Beginning Farmer and other events.
Labor and Enterprise Budget Workshops
In December, several members of the Virginia Beginning Farmer team spoke at the Virginia Farm to Table Conference on labor issues affecting beginning and start-up farmers. A resource that was published as a follow-up to this workshop can be found on our publications page. In addition, the Virginia Beginning Farmer team held multiple workshops on enterprise budgets for beginning farmers throughout the winter and spring of 2015.
Webinar Series for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
In June 2015, Anne Geyer of Agriberry Farm and Allyssa Mark of the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program presented a webinar on Critical Farm Labor Issues for Beginning and Start-Up Farmers. The webinar began with a broad overview of sources of farm labor, and topics to consider before taking new labor onto your farm, including: legal, management, insurance, and fair practice issues. Following this, Anne shared the labor story of Agriberry Farm and gave us great advice on hiring and working with farm workers and interns.
In July, Dr. Kimberly Morgan of the Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics presented a webinar on Enterprise Analysis: Farm Financial System Overview. Kim gave an introduction to farm financial statements and farm planning budgets, including: balance sheets, income statements, statements of cash flows, and enterprise analysis.
Coming up in August, Andy Sorrell, VDACS Coordinator of the Office of Farmland Preservation, and Katie Myer, Certified Farm Seeker Coordinator, will give a webinar on Land Transfer Planning Tools: Virginia Farm Link and the Certified Farm Seeker Program. They will give a detailed walk-through of the required components of the Certified Farm Seeker program and common questions their applicants have as they complete the modules of the program. We will be writing a blog post after the webinar related to land transfer and these programs, so keep an eye out!
For more details on upcoming webinars, or to view past webinars, visit our webinar page.
We are excited to return to Virginia Beginning Farmer Connections!
Until our next post, you can stay updated by visiting our website. Either click our logo in the top right corner of this page or visit vabeginningfarmer.org.