We work to provide training and technical assistance that supports and sustains Virginia’s small, minority farmers, the program also uniquely positioned to solicit insights and perspectives from the constituencies it serves, as well as from agriculture-related service providers with the following goals:
- to understand the challenges small and beginning farmers face;
- to ascertain what resources are available from service providers who help small and beginning farmers; and
- to strengthen the support Small Farm Outreach Program (SFOP) provides to small and beginning farmers with the development of the Virginia Small Farm Resource Center.
In 2018 Virginia State University’s Small Farm Outreach Program (SFOP) received funding from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to begin building the Virginia Small Farm Resource Center (SFRC), a web based clearinghouse for information, resources and news, that can improve the profitability and sustainability of the state’s small and beginning farmers.
In the last decade, VSU’s Small Farm Outreach Program, part of the university’s Cooperative Extension program, has established itself as a leader in the Commonwealth for its training and technical assistance to minority, limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and military veteran farmers and ranchers. SFOP provides educational programming, outreach and training designed to encourage and assist these small farmers and ranchers to own, maintain and operate farms and ranches independently, to participate in agricultural programs, and to improve their overall farm management skills. VSU’s Small Farm Outreach Program also is uniquely positioned to engage agriculture service provides (i.e., employees from federal and state agencies, ag-related business and non-profits organizations) to ascertain the needs of small and beginning farmers and how best to assist them.