BFRDP Projects

Equipping New Farmers with Practical Skills & Knowledge
[Progress Report]

Award Amount: $582,400
Grant Program: 2020 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program 2021 Awards
Project Director: David Handley
Organization: University of Maine Cooperative Extension


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

In year one and two, beginning farmers participated in a comprehensive, individualized training program designed to increase profitability, improve decision-making, and consider life balance. Farmers are building a portfolio of knowledge and experience for successful farming through hands-on and classroom training, one-on-one support, and text and video materials. After year two, we have found that at least 43% of the participants are women and at least 9% are veterans. To help prepare beginning farmers to start or advance their farm businesses, the project has enacted three initiatives:  
1. Intensive Business Planning. 229 beginning farmers increased their knowledge and skills in business planning by participating in group and one-on-one business planning education and assistance in years one and two of the project. 
2. Filling the Gaps in Production Knowledge. Beginning farmers learned about, observed, participated in, and experienced many aspects of crop and livestock farming. Activities were held around the state that included hands-on experience on University and commercial farms. Participants learned from established, successful farmers through on-farm tours and informal mentoring. In the first two years of the project, 32 events were held with 610 new farmers participants in attendance. 
3. Increasing Access to Resources and Networks. Existing resources and networks for beginning farmers were strengthened, augmented and refined. At this point in the project, we have developed 14 documents and 22 videos that were posted to our webpage and distributed to our network via newsletter and social media. We introduced new farmers in Maine to many new networking opportunities and ag service providers including SCORE Maine, Farm Service Agency, United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Maine Farmers Resource Network.

Number of Participants: 231


Promotional Materials

There are no promotional materials available for this project.

Educational Materials

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Reports & Evaluations

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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success