First List of Certified Farm Seekers Released

 Official certified farm seekers Ryan Pittman
and Richard Kitchen hard at work in the field.
The Certified Farm Seekers Program has released its first official list of certified farm seekers, which can be found at multiple locations on the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ website, including: here
These individuals have worked tirelessly to complete the program requirements and ultimately gain recognition as a certified farm seeker. Each farm seeker has completed the Introduction to Whole Farm Planning module, produced a professional resume and model business plan, and demonstrated on-farm experience. These seekers are now certified as being prepared to successfully demonstrate their farming commitment and vision to interested landowners.

Landowners in the Virginia Farm Link database are aware of the title’s distinction and are reaching out to certified farm seekers, before other seekers in the database, to discuss a potential farm transition. In addition to elevation in Farm Link, each certified farm seeker received up to $500 in cost share funds towards a farm transition or farm planning service, such as a transition attorney, professional business plan review, or crop/livestock consultant. Each certified farm seeker also gained access to ongoing direct assistance from the CFS coordinator in facilitating conversations and matches with landowners. One certified farm seeker, Ryan Pittman, commented, “It feels good to know there is a system looking for land for me to expand my operation when I am not able, because of my busy work schedule in the field”.

Future certified farm seekers learning about
 business planning at Young Farmers Summer Expo
The “Certified Farm Seekers List” is expected to grow as numerous participants who are extremely close to certification submit their work. They are demonstrating great effort and have noted that even if you are not in direct need of land, the program has many benefits. One such participant, WP Johnson, explains, “Each section of the program requirements has good parts and really makes you think about aspects you wouldn’t normally consider. It’s worth it just to finally get my resume and business plan down on paper.”  
If you are interested in becoming a certified farm seeker or would simply like to learn more about the program, contact:
Stefanie Kitchen
(804) 290-1030
Ron Saacke
(804) 514-4202
Kevin Schmidt
(804) 786-1346

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