; Transitioning to Farm Life: A WV New Farmer Orientation | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Transitioning to Farm Life: A WV New Farmer Orientation

Brandy Brabham and Alexandria Straight


In response to the 2007 Census of Agriculture’s increases in young, small and women farmers, the WVU Extension Risk Management Team developed a new farmer curriculum, “Transitioning to Farm Life” that debuted at the 2011 WV Small Farm Conference. Conference evaluations revealed it was rated the most useful session among over 40 options. Since then, the program has been shared at multi-county and regional venues and additional small farm events. It was recently recognized at the 2013 JCEP’s Galaxy Conference by NACAA as the Northeast regional finalist in the New and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program of Excellence.

Becoming a farmer or rancher is not a simple job change. It is a life change; thus, this curriculum was developed to help participants explore the reasons they want to farm, the planning needed for success, the resources available, and other considerations involved in beginning a farm or ranch enterprise. The program addresses family and business planning, support networks, land and taxes, financing, marketing, sustainable production knowledge, and equipment and infrastructure acquisition. Program participants are provided with a resource guide summarizing planning tools, agricultural agency roles, public and private networks and organizations, state and federal agencies, and affiliated agribusinesses.

This presentation will provide the framework of a new farmer curriculum that can be modified to fit the needs of Extension educators or agricultural service providers in any state to assist the growing number of new, young or women farmers find success in agriculture.