BFRDP Projects

Developing Capacity for Veterans and Socially Disadvantaged Beginning Farmers in Black Belt Alabama through Experience-Based Whole Farm Planning, Mentoring, and Internship Programs
[Progress Report]

Award Amount: $750,000
Grant Program: 2021 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Duncan M Chembezi
Organization: Alabama A&M University


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

Alabama A&M University (AAMU) is an 1890 and historically black land-grant institution with a rich history and experience of providing education, outreach training and technical assistance to rural residents. This project has recruited,  and will continue grow, and support the next generation of minority beginning farmers and assist them overcome the many challenges they face to succeed in farming. AAMU is partnering with Alabama State Association of Cooperatives, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Alabama Agricultural A+ Marketing Association, Holistic Management International, Alchemy Farms and Plants, and other local organizations to develop comprehensive experience-based curricula anchored by experience-based whole farm planning and mentoring programs. The project has targeted and engage veterans, socially disadvantaged beginning farmers (SDBFRs), disconnected youth, students, and those who choose to advance farming opportunities. Thirty-five percent of the funding is allocated to partner organizations, 13% to assisting military veterans, and 86% to supporting SDBFRs. By partnering with demonstration farms throughout Alabama, this project will provide year-long programs of classroom and hands-on in-field instruction and demonstrations on essential skills and information to empower SDBFRs with the knowledge and mentoring support to be successful farmers. Over three years, the project will train over 100 farm mentors, support and assist at least 765 SDBFRs and veterans, and reach over 3,300 additional minority or socially disadvantaged individuals through general outreach and effective information dissemination strategies. The project builds on prior BFRDP funding (Awards #2012-49400-19567 and #2017-70017-26842); and based on the strong partnerships forged, online resources, farm mentors, stakeholders’ and target audience support, and the proposed experience-based training and mentorship programing, this project will likely be self-sustaining.

Number of Participants: 318


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