Program Summary (Click to Download)
Farmer To Farmer Mentoring Program Application (Click to Download)
Farmer To Farmer Mentoring Program Self-Assessment (Click to Download)
The Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program links experienced Alabama farmers with farmers and ranchers who are new to farming or are transitioning to more sustainable farming enterprises. By helping create a mentor relationship, and by encouraging participants to pass on what they have learned, ASAN hopes to create more teachers and leaders within rural communities and to increase the number of farmers taking advantage of alternative markets and more environmentally sound production methods.
The program is open to all beginning farmers and ranchers. A beginning farmer or rancher is defined by the USDA someone who has been farming less than ten years. ASAN works primarily with small farmers trying to use alternative marketing and production methods and we will best serve those farmers and ranchers with similar interests.
The beginning farmers involved in the Farmer-to-Farmer Program have the following opportunities and commitments:
- connections to more and better resources, including educational materials as well as human resources
- opportunities for training, and in some cases assistance with registration and other fees
- opportunities to network
- assistance with the development of a whole farm plan
- a commitment to use their new set of tools to build a sustainable and successful business
- a commitment to sharing information and passing on training, and tracking that training
How does the program work?
ASAN works with beginning farmers and ranchers to help them access existing resources and make connections. The resources include print materials, videos, and enterprise budgets, as well as other organizations and businesses that can help develop a successful business. We believe that a successful farm business needs to be well-planned and well-connected.
Many of the resources that beginning farmers and ranchers need already exist, and it is a matter of connecting the person to the resource. Our universities and Cooperative Extension, the Alabama and U.S. Departments of Agriculture, and other non-profits and businesses have all been working to supply information and assistance to farmers for decades. Navigating these resources is not so easy for a beginning producer, and the first step of the program is developing a resource list specific to each producer. In addition, ASAN partners with the Consortium of Agricultural Newcomers Access to Learning (CANAL) to develop any materials that are needed to fill in the gaps.
Once the beginning producer has had a chance to take advantage of existing resources and begins to develop his or her own farm plan, ASAN can provide more technical assistance in the development of that plan. The program coordinator will act as the primary contact, working to connect the participant to appropriate farmer mentors and other sources of information.
While growing a successful business is an ongoing effort, the beginning farmer graduates from the program when he or she has developed a basic whole farm plan. At that point, the farmer is committed to passing on eight hours of training in the form of on-farm workshops, speaking at trainings, writing articles, fact sheets, or blogs, or any number of other ways that she feels comfortable sharing her experiences.
Interested in signing up? For more information or an application, visit our website at www.asanonline.org or contact us at 559-546-1090.
A project of the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network in partnership with the Consortium for Agricultural Newcomers’ Access to Learning. Funding provided by the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.
Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network
P.O. Box 2127
Montgomery, AL 36102-2127