Young, Beginning and Small (YBS) Farmers
AgFirst recognizes that YBS farmers are vitally important to the future of agriculture, and we are committed to partnering with our Associations to ensure they have the continuing education, assistance and quality financial services they need to thrive.
Colonial Farm Credit customer Chelsea Bickley and others share how support from AgFirst-affiliated Associations has helped them as YBS farmers.
Here are a few of the important ways we bolster this essential segment:
AgFirst knows the vital role education plays in helping YBS farmers plan for a successful future. To reach these producers, we've partnered with industry professionals to develop and vet a range of course offerings. These professionals have decades of experience and include professors, lenders and consultants. Through hands-on courses, students have the opportunity to get real business results!
Online. Both borrowers and prospective borrowers can take courses through AgFirst's Farm Credit University (FCU). Agricultural producers can enroll in several programs designed to prepare Young, Beginning, Small and Minority farmers and ranchers to start and grow their business. They can learn to set goals, prepare basic financial statements and develop business plans. Farm transition planning is also available to guide farm families through transferring ownership and management responsibilities to the next generation.
Partnership. AgFirst works with our partner Associations in various ways to make educational courses available to farmers across the spectrum, including:
- To promote enrollment and the advancement of YBS farmers, FCU recently collaborated with AgChoice Farm Credit (now Horizon Farm Credit). The partnership required those who applied for the Association's $10,000 grant program for startup farmers to enroll in the Ag Biz Basics course, resulting in 70 new course enrollments in the Mid-Atlantic region.
- We have also partnered for the past 12 years with five District Associations to offer Ag Biz Planner and Ag Biz Basics as part of their collaborative program to help YBS producers in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
- In addition, FCU worked with Carolina Farm Credit (now AgSouth Farm Credit) to help provide Ag Biz Basics as part of their Ag Entrepreneurship and Finance Certificate Course in conjunction with North Carolina A&T University.
AgFirst also believes it is important to support organizations designed to give YBS farmers the resources they need to grow. We have supported initiatives such as the South Carolina Coastal Region Beginning Farmers Development Project – a three-year commitment to disadvantaged farmers run by the Center for Heirs Property Preservation. We have also supported South Carolina's Governor's School for Agriculture, a specialized residential high school, to help train the next generation of leaders in agriculture.
AgFirst is continually looking for ways to expand our investment in YBS farmers – the future of American agriculture.