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News Release

USDA Stands Up New Team to Better Serve Beginning Farmers and Ranchers in Wisconsin

Madison, Wis., August 21, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is standing up a new team that will lead a department-wide effort focused on serving beginning farmers and ranchers.

To institutionalize support for beginning farmers and ranchers and to build upon prior agency work, the 2018 Farm Bill directed USDA to create a national coordinator position in the agency and state-level coordinators for four of its agencies – Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Risk Management Agency (RMA), and Rural Development (RD).

Katie Demrow is the USDA Beginning Farmer Rancher State Coordinator in Wisconsin. Demrow, State Outreach Coordinator for the USDA Farm Service Agency, looks forward to assisting Wisconsin producers with USDA programs.  She and her family have a Simmental cow-calf operation near Albany, WI. Her roots and passion for agriculture run deep, and being a beginning farmer herself, she has much excitement for joining the team to focus on serving this important group of producers.

Others on the team coordinating Wisconsin’s beginning farmers and rancher efforts include:

  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Champion Merrie Schamberger, a District conservationist in Oshkosh, Wisconsin;
  • USDA Rural Development Champion Jane White, an Area Specialist in Dodgeville, Wisconsin; and
  • USDA Risk Management Agency Champion Mark Gutierrez, a Deputy Director in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Each state coordinator will receive training and develop tailored beginning farmer outreach plans for their state. Coordinators will help field employees better reach and serve beginning farmers and ranchers and will also be available to assist beginning farmers who need help navigating the variety of resources USDA has to offer. This is a collateral duty for all team members.

More on Beginning Farmers

Twenty-seven percent of farmers were categorized as new and beginning producers, with ten years or less of experience in agriculture, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

USDA offers a variety of farm loan, risk management, disaster assistance, and conservation programs to support farmers, including beginning farmers and ranchers. Additionally, a number of these programs have provisions specifically for beginning farmers, including targeted funding for loans and conservation programs as well as waivers and exemptions.

More Information

Learn more about USDA’s resources for beginning farmers as well as more information on the national and state-level coordinators at farmers.gov/newfarmers. For more information on available programs in your area, contact your local USDA Service Center.

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