Extension Helps Small Farmers

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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 (USDA) 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 percent of all farms nationwide and 80 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. One of the challenges is having the access to receive information on the availability of financial grants and resources to make informed management decisions. Local 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, from 1:15–5 p.m., at the Powell-Melvin Service Center, 450 Smith Circle, Elizabethtown. Farmers will receive the latest information on new government programs provided by the 2018 Farm Bill as well as information on the USDA’s 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 and Grants for Small Farmers, Sunburn and Skin Cancer, and the Rural Opioid Crisis. Refreshments will be provided. Transportation will be provided from the O. P. Owens Agricultural Center, so please register by Friday, October 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, or to register, please contact Nelson Brownlee, Extension Area Farm Management Agent, at (910) 671-3276, by email at Nelson_Brownlee@ncsu.edu, or visit our website.

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 University, N.C. A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.