BFRDP Projects

Beyond Start Up: Building the Capacity of MA Beginning Farmers
[Final Report]

Award Amount: $599,533
Grant Program: 2016 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Kelly Coleman
Organization: Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

This renewal Standard BFRDP project built upon a successful Development Grant (PD: Kelly Coleman, award 2012-49400-19591). The lead agency (CISA) managed this state-wide project through an established network of five collaborating agricultural community-based organizations (CBOs): Berkshire Grown, Central Mass Grown, Northeast Harvest, Southeastern MA Agricultural Partnership and Sustainable Nantucket. One hundred percent of federal funds went to CBOs.

The long-range goal of this project was to improve the sustainability and profitability of beginning farm businesses in Massachusetts by providing tailored technical assistance. During this grant we served 521 beginning farmers in the following topic areas: entrepreneurship and business training (priority C), financial and risk management training (priority D), and diversification and marketing strategies (priority F). Activities included 81 workshops, 19 networking events, and 343 one-on-one assistance consultations, plus detailed program evaluation. After participating, farmers continued to have access to on-going technical assistance and peer support through the collaborating organizations. As a result, 92% of participants (520/568 surveys) “moderately increased” knowledge and 66% of participants (374/568 surveys) “substantially increased” knowledge in the areas of marketing, business planning, financial analysis, diversification, or value-added production. By the end of the project we had collected data to confirm that 119 farmers implemented a change (78% of the 134 respondents) and 23 have already seen an increase in their income by at least 5% (45% of the 51 respondents to this question).  We believe the success of these outcomes will improve the economy and food security of the region.

Number of Participants: 521


Promotional Materials

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Educational Materials

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Reports & Evaluations

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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success