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AgSouth joins program to help beginning farmers

Focus is on farmers with limited means, minority farmers

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AgSouth joins program to help beginning farmers


        Starting in October, AgSouth Farm Credit in Statesboro will join a new training program aimed at helping beginning and young farmers.
        The training offers up to 70 eligible farmers crash courses in business planning, vegetable and fruit production and goat husbandry to provide them with a strong foundation to help grow their new businesses.
        AgSouth joins the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UGA Small Business Development Center, Georgia Organics and Fort Valley State University, along with other partners, in developing the training and mentoring program.
        The partnership will focus on farmers with limited means and minority farmers.
        The core of the training program is business planning. The UGA Small Business Development Center-a unit of the Office of Public Service and Outreach-and AgSouth Farm Credit will provide business planning and financing workshops to the farmers.
        "To assure a continued sound agriculture industry in our nation, it is essential that we provide financial literacy and risk management training for the next generation of farmers," said Van McCall, director of the AGAware program for AgSouth. "AgSouth Farm Credit has made a commitment to the future of agriculture through the development of our national award-winning AGAware program. We are very excited for the opportunity to partner in this program."
        AgSouth Farm Credit launched a young and beginning farmers training program in 2013 with AGAware, a series of business skills workshops focusing on business planning, marketing and Farm Services Agency and Small Business Administration programs.
        The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced Feb. 2 that the partnership would receive a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Grant of $652,000 to establish an innovative training program that can be presented throughout the state.
        Georgia Organics will help develop training for farmers interested in small fruit and vegetable production and coordinate the hands-on training that will offer internships and/or mentoring experiences.
        "Beginning farmers face many obstacles, and successful, established farmers offer a wealth of expertise to help them succeed," said Alice Rolls, executive director of Georgia Organics. "We look forward to connecting these new growers with producers who have been there, and to the
        For more information about Georgia's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, see www.SustainAgGA.org.

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