Extension Helps Small Farmers Learn About New Programs

— Written By and last updated by Patricia Burch

Small farms play a vital role in supporting the competitiveness and sustainability of the United States rural and farm economies. These numerous and diverse small-scale operations provide a nursery for the development of new enterprises and marketing systems and a replenishment of the farming population. The United States Department of Agriculture classifies small farms as farms with gross sales of $250,000 or less. The National Agricultural Statistics Service’s 2017 Census of Agriculture shows that they make up 85% of all farms nationwide and 80% in North Carolina. Many of these farms consist of small-scale agriculture including fruit and vegetable production, small-scale livestock production including goats, pastured pork and pastured poultry, forestry production and aquaculture.

Even though they make up an overwhelming majority of all farmers, small farmers still face many challenges. One of the challenges is having the opportunity to receive information on the availability of financial grants and resources and to make informed management decisions. Farmers and landowners will have the opportunity to attend an outreach meeting designed to inform them of programs that can provide financial assistance to their farms. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, at the Powell-Melvin Service Center, 450 Smith Circle Elizabethtown, NC. It will start at 1:15 p.m. and last until 5 p.m.

Farmers will receive the latest information on new government programs provided by the 2018 Farm Bill. They will also receive information on USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), Rural Development (RD), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) programs. Farmers will also gather information about Cooperative Extension Small Farm Programs, Financial Assistance for Small Farmers, Sunburn and Skin Cancer, and the Rural Opioid Crisis.

Refreshments will be provided. Transportation will also be provided from the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Sampson County Center, so please register by Friday, October 18 to reserve your seat.

For more information, please contact James Hartsfield, Area Farm Management Agent, N.C. Cooperative Extension, Sampson County Center at 910-592-7161 or james_hartsfield@ncsu.edu.

Remember small farmers are important to North Carolina’s agricultural industry. Please support our small farmers to make sure that they not only survive, but thrive in today’s economy.