With the weather becoming warmer and planting underway, what better time for a Certified Farm Seekers update? Since its last blog post back in August, the Certified Farm Seekers program has gained a considerable amount of momentum in its goal of matching farm seekers with farm owners. Over 50 interested farm seekers have submitted applications and are in various stages of completing the requirements of a resume, business plan, and on-farm experience. These efforts to produce quality farm seekers have directly resulted in many promising land transition conversations between farm owners and CFS participants.
A productive trip was taken in March to Virginia Tech to meet with the future of agriculture-the Agricultural Technology students. Three separate classes learned more about the CFS program and started work on the Introduction to Whole Farm Planning module, which is a short series of worksheets that allows farm seekers to organize their farming goals and plans. Many students really reflected the intent of the program-to provide a way for dedicated farmers, who do not have easy access to land, to find farming opportunities in Virginia.
Although the program is primarily self-guided, workshops are currently being conducted across the state, in order to give participants a chance to complete the requirements with a staff member present. The Bedford County Young Farmers Committee recently hosted such a workshop at their May monthly meeting.
Bedford County Young Farmers Chairperson, W.P. Johnson, noted, “The group really enjoyed the presentation and was amazed at the opportunities available. Business planning with expert review allows us to ensure our ability to approach land owners professionally and financial institutions with confidence. This is an equation for success for young and beginning farmers. I feel that the Certified Farm Seekers Program is an invaluable tool that is underutilized by young agriculturalists.”
If you are interested in holding a CFS workshop or learning more about the program, contact: