BFRDP Projects

Farming for Cash: A Continuing Training Program for Veteran, Socially-disadvantaged, and Limited-resource Beginning Farmers
[Final Report]

Award Amount: $519,443
Grant Program: 2015 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Siddhartha Dasgupta
Organization: Kentucky State University


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

This project is a collaboration between Kentucky State University (KSU) and multiple community-based organizations (CBOs) in Kentucky who provide agricultural training to serve veterans and the socially disadvantaged.   We just completed the first year of this project and trained 175 BFs.  We trained them in how to start farms, production, and business planning.  Most BFs started farming operations: 35 refugee BFs started a market garden at Louisville Grows CBO's 5-acre farm and sold their crops to a nearby grocery store (called Save-A-Lot Store).  Another CBO, the International Center at Bowling Green, Kentucky, received a multi-year lease for a 5-acre farm from the city government.  This farm will be used next year to teach refugee BFs about commercial-scale produce farming by Mr. Tehran Jewell, Kentucky State University 1890 Land Grant Extension Area Agent and veteran commercial produce farmer.

During 2017, we experienced much success in refugee BFs starting vegetable production, sales, and, in essence, making money.  Several refugees were surprised at the income potential of small-scale and urban farming, in conjunction with direct-to-consumer sales.  Some realized
that they could earn more through this type of farming than from their minimum-wage jobs.

This year, refugee BFs at the International Center started an intensive hydroponic salad greens project: they learned how to construct a high tunnel, start seeds in Rockwool cubes, mix the correct amount of hydroponic fertilizer, etc.  These BFs have developed marketing plans and found two local outlets for their products. 

Another CBO, serving minority and impoverished BFs in the Appalachian Kentucky, started a catfish enterprise.  Local catfish farmers were struggling with marketing because they did not have wholesale outlets and did not have the resources to make retail sales.   This created an opportunity for this BFRDP project to collaborate with another NIFA 1890 Capacity Building project which was investigating fish transportation and holding systems.  BFs at this CBO were provided with a fish tank, and they started holding and marketing catfish locally.  This provided a means of risk management via enterprise diversification for BFs who were only selling produce.

Next year our BFs will receive more forest farming and risk management training.

Number of Participants: 382


Promotional Materials

There are no promotional materials available for this project.

Educational Materials

There are no educational materials available for this project.

Reports & Evaluations

There are no reports or evaluations available for this project.

Delivery Area

Describe any unexpected results of the project:

How would you improve the project if you were to do it again?

What were the keys to success for your participants?

Individual Stories / Examples of Success