Welcome to the Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition

Starting a farm is difficult, and succeeding beyond the first few years may be even more so.   Beginning farmers and ranchers nation-wide face unique challenges to achieve their farm goals and aspirations.  The long-term goal of the Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition (VBFRC) is to improve opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers to establish and sustain viable agricultural operations and communities in Virginia.  To reach our goal, we support the development and enhancement of whole farm planning curriculum and training, online resources, social networking, and farmer mentoring.  Unique to the VBFRC is its coalition of agricultural organizations and farm business that work together to develop and implement these aims.

VBFRC Brochure Image
VBFRC Brochure
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Welcome to the Coalition: Allegheny Mountain Institute (AMI)

Allegheny Mountain Institute (AMI) is a 501(c) 3 educational non-profit organization with the mission to cultivate healthy communities through food and education. The vision of AMI is a thriving network of collaborative, vibrant communities who value the connection between food and health. Since 2011, AMI has trained its Fellows to become leaders that go forth and improve local food systems by increasing food access and teaching nutrition and farming. AMI seeks to build community, and ensure that every member in that community has access to fresh, healthy food that enables them to take charge of their health and improve their quality of life. For more information, visit the AMI website at: alleghenymountaininstitute.org/

Farmer Conversation Videos

During the spring and summer of 2015, members of the VBFRC interviewed the owners of five farms across Virginia to ask about their experiences and enterprises. Each farmer discussed how they got started in farming, their primary products and markets, labor practices, and a variety of other topics related to their farms. These conversations were recorded for the purpose of creating videos that will help beginning and established farmers and ranchers in Virginia learn more about other Virginia farmers while gaining valuable information about how different farms are operated. To view these videos, visit our YouTube channel.

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Advisory Group Election

The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition held an election July 2019 to add new members to the VBFRC advisory group. The advisory group consists of committed individuals from the Coalition who represent both farmer and service provider perspectives in Virginia. This elected advisory group is responsible for providing input to guide program activity to best address the expressed needs of the Coalition. Visit Coalition to view our current advisory group!


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Winter 2018-2019
VBFRCP_Winter2017.pdf Winter 2017 Newsletter
VBFRCP_summer 2015_newsletter_updated final.pdf Summer 2015 Newsletter
newsletter-winter-2014.pdf Winter 2014 Newsletter
newsletter-spring-2013.pdf Spring 2013 Newsletter
newsletter-december.pdf Winter 2012 Newsletter
newsletter-summer-2012-oct.pdf Summer 2012 Newsletter
spring-newsletter-pdf.pdf Spring 2012 Newsletter

If you want to stay informed about our program activities using social media, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or subscribe to our listserv.  If you have comments or questions, please contact Allyssa Mark by email.

The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition is a state-wide and coalition-based Extension program, housed in Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education. Funding was sponsored by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Award #2017-70011-26861, and the Southern Risk Management Education Center Grant #545015. For more information about the program or funding, contact Kim Niewolny, Program Director and Extension Specialist, at niewolny@vt.edu or 540-231-5784.

For website updates, such as broken links, please contact Allyssa Mark, Program Associate.

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Blacksburg Downtown Farmers Market

Link to Blog