With 10 percent of small farmers exiting farming each year, and a current median farming age of 59, helping new farmers successfully enter and thrive in their businesses is vitally important for the future of U.S. agriculture.
But, beginning farmers face significant hurdles, including attaining knowledge, skills, and experience in production practices; acquiring the fundamental business planning and financial management knowledge and skills; and accessing farmland and capital as part of the substantial investment farming requires.
To help address this, OEFFA’s Begin Farming Program provides aspiring and early career farmers (those farming 10 years or less) the support they need to understand what it takes to get into farming and grow their businesses. The goal of the program is to increase the number of successful sustainable and organic farmers in Ohio.
Programs for Aspiring Farmers
Seasonal Farm Jobs
During the growing season, aspiring farmers have an opportunity to train and work on Ohio host farms through the Seasonal Farm Jobs program.
Programs for Early Career Farmers
Technical and Educational Assistance
Farmers can receive one-on-one assistance on topics like production techniques, organic transition, soil health, USDA programs, resources, and funding by picking up the phone or sending an email. OEFFA has staff dedicated to help farmers troubleshoot problems and access resources.
Farm Tour and Workshop Series
The 2023 OEFFA Sustainable Farm Tour Series offers many opportunities for beginning and experienced farmers alike to gather and learn from other farmers in the region. Tours span the entire 2023 season and cover a wide array of growers and growing techniques. Come experience the agricultural diversity that Ohio has to offer!
Beginning Farmer Facebook Group
Looking for another way to connect? OEFFA’s Facebook group—OEFFA’s Next Farm Team—is for you! It’s a friendly, inclusive forum for beginning farmers to network, ask questions, and share ideas, resources, events, and photos.
New Farmer Training Opportunities
The 2023/24 season will provide many training opportunities for beginning and transitioning farmers alike to learn firsthand about identifying values, setting goals, planning for a farm business, finding farmland, and much more. Keep an eye out on this page and in our newsletter for what’s coming up!
OEFFA’s Annual Conference
As the largest sustainable agriculture gathering in Ohio, the annual OEFFA conference is an invaluable opportunity for beginning farmers to connect with other farmers and attend 50+ workshops on topics ranging from farming techniques to business management.
Land Access Program
Heartland FarmLink is a land link site designed to connect farmers seeking land with people who have it. Whether your land access goals are buying, leasing, or something in between, Heartland FarmLink is the place to get the lay of the land. Make your profile today and connect with landholders throughout Ohio!
Jerah Pettibone, OEFFA’s Land Access Educator, is available for consultation with beginning and exiting farmers needing personalized technical assistance. Contact the Begin Farming Program Coordinator to determine if your situation is a good fit for Farmland Specialist services.
Finding a Farm Job 101
Sunday, December 10 | 2 p.m.
Do you feel called to farm? Are you looking for a job or internship on a farm that shares your values and develops your skills? Do you just want a chance to work outdoors and eat good food?
Whatever your work or learning goals, there are many factors to consider in finding a job that helps you reach them while staying safe and healthy. This free online course is designed for people who are just entering the field. Learn about common industry standards, different types of jobs and internships, cultural norms and expectations, where to search for farm jobs, employee rights and safety, and more. Register here.
Join Us in Fielding the Next Farm Team!
Stay tuned for updates as our 2024 season takes shape!
If you are interested in participating in these programs, either as a new or experienced farmer we would be delighted to talk to you. Email or call Jerah Pettibone, Begin Farming and Land Access Educator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 725-3166.
Photos: Mile Creek Farm