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Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project


Karri Honaker, Soil Conservationist

Karri Honaker conducts outreach to new farmers via webinar.

As Virginia’s producer population ages, it is essential to support, educate and cultivate new communities of farmers in the Commonwealth. NRCS is now partnering with the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project* to equip the next generation of growers to create viable and sustainable operations. 

The coalition brings together 26 organizations to collaborate on training programs and establish a mentoring network for beginning farmers. Christiansburg Resource Conservationist Gene Harris and Rustburg Soil Conservationist Karri Honaker are part of that effort, serving as liaisons between the group and NRCS.

As first-line NRCS contacts for producers, Virginia field staff are a key component of this effort. They connect new farmers in their area with coalition tools and resources and can also help to identify potential mentors who are willing to informally meet with them and provide experienced support.

In turn, the coalition connects beginning farmers to NRCS technical and financial assistance via their website, technical assistance directory, training programs, and mentoring events. Honaker recently recorded a webinar on working with NRCS that is now available for viewing on the group's website.

Karri's presentation offers an overview on NRCS programs and services, including special funding pools for beginning farmers and historically underserved producers. She also answers questions from participants that address many of the common concerns about Farm Bill programs.

View the webinar (July 2013 presentation).

Contacts: Karri Honaker: or 434-352-5610
                Gene Harris: or 540-381-4221, ext. 127


* Established through a USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
   Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant