UAPB Receives Grant to Support New Farmer, Rancher Training

The program targets socially disadvantaged farmers, including those from minority communities.

Chicot County beginning farmer Howard Brown
Chicot County beginning farmer Howard Brown. Courtesy: University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Small Farm Program is receiving a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support the training of beginning farmers and ranchers. 

The three-year grant targets socially disadvantaged and limited resource farmers (SDLRF) in 20 counties with a large number of SDLRFs who have been underserved because of barriers such as limited access to credit, lack of knowledge of land acquisition and transition, and lack of skills in financial planning and production, according to a news release. 

“Participants will be trained and assisted with farm business planning, livestock and crop production, and marketing,” program director Henry English says. “Information on alternative enterprises, use of USDA programs and heirs’ property issues will also be included.”

As a part of the program, UAPB will conduct beginning farmer and rancher classes on campus, which will consist of seven monthly workshops. These sessions will get underway early in 2021 and be a mixture of classroom sessions, farm and ranch tours, UAPB experiment station tours and hands-on field activities. 

Beginning farmers and ranchers are those who have been farming for 10 years or less, English says. Qualifying participants may sign up for training and technical assistance or the workshops or both.

Socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers include African Americans, Alaskan Native, American Indians, Asians, Hispanics, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders and women, English says.

The 20 counties included in the grant are Cleveland, Columbia, Crittenden, Cross, Dallas, Grant, Hempstead, Howard, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lincoln, Little River, Miller, Lee, Lonoke, Phillips, Pulaski, Sevier, St. Francis and Woodruff.

More information is available by calling the UAPB Small Farm Program at 870-5757-7225 or sending an email to [email protected]