BFRDP Projects

Fortifying Rural Economic Empowerment (FREE): Multi-State Farm BusinessDevelopment, Innovative Farming Strategies, and Apprenticeship Program
[Progress Report]

Award Amount: $583,799
Grant Program: 2019 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Frank Taylor
Organization: Winston County Self Help Cooperative


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

In alignment with the BFRDP primary goal, this project helped veterans and socially-disadvantaged, majority African-American, beginning farmers and ranchers in Winston, Wayne, Scott, Covington counties of Mississippi and Tangipahoa parish and St. Helena parish of Louisiana, which are poverty-stricken, rural counties and parishes. Delivering thorough and hands-on training, specialized mentoring, one-on-one technical assistance and establishing an apprenticeship program helped begin and enhance their successes in farming, ranching, and management of their private forest lands to enhance their overall sustainability. For this reason, our project priorities are identical to the Legislative Priorities, as demonstrated by our four
objectives: (1) Assist target audience launch their farm business through a business plan writing workshop with market training. This prioritized entrepreneurship, business training, financial and risk management and marketing strategies. (2) Provided high-growth industry training and technical assistance, which prioritized basic livestock, forest management, and crop farming practices and innovative farm, ranch, and private forest land strategies, such as the application of Agroforestry. (3) Offered Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) certification training to prioritize diversification
and marketing strategies as well as food safety. Lastly, (4) created a year-long apprenticeship program for young adults, ages 18-21, to establish a career pathway for young farmers and ranchers to own farm businesses and prioritized mentoring and vocational training. This program took a multi-state, client centric approach to empower veterans and SD beginning farmers and ranchers, bolster rural jobs and support economic growth and development.

Number of Participants: 18


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