Cooperative Extension Helps Small Farmers Learn About New Programs

— Written By

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 2012 Census of Agriculture shows that they make up 88 percent of all farms nationwide and 87 percent 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. Some of the challenges are receiving information on the availability of financial grants and resources and making 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 Thursday, September 20, at the Powell-Melvin Service Center, 450 Smith Circle, Elizabethtown, N.C. It will start at 1:15 p.m. and last until 5:00 p.m. 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 will be provided. Farmers will also receive information about Cooperative Extension Small Farm Programs, Bamboo Production, and the Rural Opioid Crisis. Refreshments will be provided. Transportation will also be provided from the O. P. Owens Agriculture Center; please call 910-671-3276 and register by Tuesday, September 18, to reserve your seat.

Remember, small farmers are important to North Carolina’s agricultural industry. Please support our small farmers to make sure they not only survive but thrive in today’s economy. For more information, contact Nelson Brownlee, Extension Area Farm Management Agent, at 910-671-3276, by E-mail at Nelson_Brownlee@ncsu.edu, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.

NC State University and N.C. A&T State University are collectively committed to positive action to secure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, and veteran status. NC State, N.C. A&T, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.