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Wayne Post
  • Farmer-to-farmer mentor program launched

  • Experienced farmers will help new farmers.
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  • A new project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is matching experienced farmers with those who need a farming mentor. Would-be farmers and new as well as experienced farmers are sought now for the program through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute for Food and Agriculture of the USDA.
    The deadline to have a match by March in preparation for the new growing season is Jan. 31.
    The program offers a pressure-free approach and participants choose their mentor or mentee. Once a partnership is formed, "we ensure that the relationship will be fruitful by providing support and a framework in which to work together," according to a release.
    When experienced farmers join the program, they can connect with other farmers with a similar passion for guiding the next generation of organic farmers. The program will provide up-to-date information on best-practices and on upcoming events and resources.
    The mentor roster includes New York farmers with experience in a range of production enterprises from livestock to fruit, grains to vegetables, wild products to dairy. Beginning farmers who sign up now will have time to build a solid relationship with a new mentor before springtime farm work begins.
    To participate or for more information, call Rachel at (585) 271-1979, Ext. 511.

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