New free program aims to help beginning farmers and ranchers

David Erickson

It can be extremely difficult to start a career in agriculture unless you have access to generational knowledge, but help is on the way.

A local nonprofit has been awarded a $565,000 federal grant to help build capacity for training beginning farmers and ranchers.

The Missoula Community Food and Agriculture Coalition recently learned they were one of 140 organizations nationwide to get the money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

“Beginning farmers and ranchers face many barriers and challenges in their startup years, such as access to land and appropriate financing,” said Mary Ellis, the beginning farmer and rancher program manager at the coalition. “(Our) program is focused on developing programs and resources designed to help reduce these barriers and make farming more accessible.”

The project has three main goals. The first is to increase the number of successful and sustainable farmers in Montana by providing training, technical assistance and mentorship. Farmers will learn about land access, business plans and production methods.

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The second goal is to help farmers with more experience learn about enhancing or supporting new revenue streams.


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