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Independent Voice

Enrollment Opens for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program

Feb 28, 2024 11:36AM ● By California Farm Bureau News Release

California Farm Bureau began enrollment last week for a new program called Expanding Our Roots: Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Mentorship Program. Photo courtesy Emily Studer (Pixabay)

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The California Bountiful Foundation, the 501(c)3 science, research, and education nonprofit organization of the California Farm Bureau, began enrollment last week for a new program called Expanding Our Roots: Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Mentorship Program.

The program has a website where beginning farmers and ranchers with one to 10 years of farming and ranching experience in California may enroll for free in the mentorship program.

Farmers and ranchers interested in serving as mentors may also sign up via the webpage. Mentors are financially compensated for providing six hours of mentoring services to beginning farmers and ranchers.

The program will allow 200 beginning farmers to be paired up with mentor farmers and ranchers with more than 10 years of experience. Half of the program participants must be specialty crop growers. Under program funding requirements, priority consideration will be given to socially disadvantaged farmers and military veterans in farming and ranching.

Mentoring will focus on a range of topics, including market access, climate stresses, navigating the regulatory system, production management and business aspects of farming in California.

The program will also provide educational workshops that offer insights on regulations for farming and ranching in California. Additionally, participants will learn about financial incentives, including grant opportunities that can help them fund conservation management practices and climate-smart agriculture. They will be exposed to resources from the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Cooperative Extension.

Grant funding for this project was made possible through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

“This program is designed to bring our agricultural community even closer together as a family through mentoring opportunities,” said Dr. Amrith Gunasekara, science and research director for the California Bountiful Foundation. “Mentoring the new generation of farmers and ranchers by experienced farmers and ranchers will ensure agriculture and food security is sustained into the future.”

The California Farm Bureau works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 26,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of 5.8 million Farm Bureau members.