BFRDP Projects

The Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program: A Participatory Beginning Farmer and Rancher Education and Training Initiative
[Final Report]

Award Amount: $724,828
Grant Program: 2014 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Kim Niewolny
Organization: Virginia Tech


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

Our long-term goal is to holistically improve start-up opportunities for a diversity of beginning farmers and ranchers to establish and sustain viable agricultural operations and communities in Virginia. This proposal builds upon previous work of the BFRDP funded VBFRCP. That project launched our state-wide coalition-based program to develop and enhance community-based, whole farm planning trainings, curricula, resources, mentoring, and online learning/networks. With Virginia Tech/Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) as the backbone organization of the VBFRCP, our participatory-based program is ongoing, illustrating sustainability beyond the life of the initial BFRDP grant. The premise of this project, therefore, is that a collaborative, capacity-building and community-based participatory approach is a precursor and prerequisite to building sustainable partnerships and educational experiences for and with beginning farmers and ranchers in Virginia. Our five objectives are to: 1) enhance the organizational coordination and collective impact of the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition to offer and support place-based and culturally-appropriate education, training, and networking opportunities for the next generation of farmers and ranchers in Virginia; 2) implement regional trainings for the full spectrum of beginning farmers and ranchers using experiential learning and classroom delivery methods in five focus areas from our WFP curriculum; 3) collaboratively develop and deliver targeted“toolkit” materials and strategic trainings in critical topic areas to address culturally specific and advanced content needs; 4) support, develop and deliver new online learning resources and social media platforms in critical content areas illustrated by examples of VBFRCP training activities and farmer stories from the field;5) provide 4 local mentoring networks to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and skills of experienced farmers and ranchers with the beginning farmer and rancher community. While available to all beginning farmer learners, each objective gives special consideration to the needs of socially disadvantaged, limited resource, military veteran, and young farmers.

Number of Participants: 947


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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