In January, University of Maine Cooperative Extension will introduce a new Beginning Farmer Resource Network and a question-and-answer website.
Developed by a group of agricultural service providers, the Beginning Farmer Resource Network (BFRN) is a collaborative online effort to address concerns among beginning farmers about available services and provide answers to commonly asked questions. The website, which will be updated as feedback is received, will be accessible Jan. 8 through the UMaine Extension website (http://umaine.edu/new-farmers/answers-to-basic-questions). The free program will expand online informational resources now available on the UMaine Extension website.
UMaine Extension will launch the initiative with introductory sessions during the Jan. 8–10 Maine Agricultural Trade Show in Augusta. BFRN members will be available to answer questions, guide users on website content, and receive feedback.
Initial topics will range from taxes, financing, and U.S. Department of Agriculture programs to finding land or local large animal veterinarians, and how to balance farm and family life. No real one-stop-shop is available for new farmers in need of assistance with the huge variety of issues they face in the first few years, says coordinator Tori Jackson, UMaine Extension professor of agriculture and natural resources in the Androscoggin-Sagadahoc counties office. BFRN is hoping to help make it a little easier, she says.
Contact: Tori Jackson, 207.353.5550, or firstname.lastname@example.org.