Across central Appalachia, programs are available to beginning and early-career farmers to help them achieve their goal of creating a sustainable farm business. These programs can help beginning farmers develop skills and knowledge to master whole farm business plan, financial management and more.

Find your state to get started!


Program Nonprofit Organization Description Contact
Beginning Farmer Series Grow Appalachia USDA BFRDP – CFA and KCARD are partners – Program for beginning farmers with 0-9 years of experience who would like to hone their skills as a farmer and business owners. This FREE 6-month training series is tailored to farming in eastern Kentucky.
Eastern Kentucky Farmer Conference CFA, Grow Appalachia & KCARD Conference serving the local farmer. Not all content is for beginning farmers, but it’s a great place to grow knowledge and networks.
KY First Farm UK The Beginning Farmer Rancher and Development Program, aka “KY First Farm” is housed at the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension office in Lexington, KY. The goal of KY First Farm is to bring beginning farmers, or farmers with less than 10 years of farming experience, in Kentucky and surrounding areas a realistic plan for becoming a farmer with a sustainable product and income. Our targeted audiences are military veterans and underserved limited-resource populations; however, every beginning farmer is welcome to participate.


Program Nonprofit Organization Description Contact
Farm Beginnings Farmer Training Organic Growers School Farm Beginnings® is a 12-month training that uses a mix of farmer-led classroom sessions, on-farm tours, mentorship, and an extensive farmer network, tapping into the knowledge of the most innovative & skilled farmers in Western NC.
Farm Incubator Program Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy’s Farm Incubator Program provides opportunities for entrepreneurial farmers to hone their skills while launching or expanding agricultural operations. The program offers affordable access to land and resources for a limited period of time.


Program Nonprofit Organization Description Contact
Rural Action’s Whole Farm Project Rural Action Our Whole Farm Project seeks to provide wraparound support for beginning farmers, including access to capital, land, mentorship, professional services, site visits, and management plans. We aim to uplift the voices of experienced farmers in serving as mentors and peer educators to help build a strong small farm community.
OEFFA’s Heartland Farm Beginnings OEFFA Heartland Farm Beginnings is an intensive, farmer-led training and support program designed to help early-career farmers achieve their goal of creating a sustainable farm business. This series of intensive workshops will help beginning farmers develop a whole farm business plan through goal setting, financial management and an individualized assessment of resources, skills and markets. Participants will be paired with a farmer-mentor for one-on-one support.
Rising Appalachia Community Ecology Apprenticeship Program Rising Appalachia Mentorship in creating land-based enterprises with a focus on sustainable agriculture, ageoforestry, natural building, and interpretive education


Program Nonprofit Organization Description Contact
The Field School Appalachian Resource and Development Council The Field School is a beginning farmer training program that provides students with an overview of small-scale farming in East Tennessee. It is taught by 20+ farmers and agricultural professionals and is hosted by the Appalachian RC&D Council, Green Earth Connection, and many area partners. Pre-Registration is required.


Program Nonprofit Organization Description Contact
The Farmer and Rancher Mentoring Program (FARM) Appalachian Sustainable Development The Farmer and Rancher Mentoring Program was established in 2017 with a grant from a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Since its inception, the FARM program has trained and hosted 31 local mentor farmers, helped match 33 beginning farmers with local mentors and aided in 25 new farm startups in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
Southwest Virginia Field School Appalachian Sustainable Development The SWVA Field School is a beginning farmer training program that includes training on business planning, finances, and marketing all geared toward helping beginning farmers create sustainable and profitable small farms. The Field School is made up of two sessions: the Summer Field School and the Winter Business Intensive.
Grow Your Own Appalachian Sustainable Development Grow Your Own is a beginning backyard gardener and market gardener program that helps people and families grow food for themselves, their neighbors, and their communities. We provide training, technical support, seeds, plants, tools, and tilling services. Many GYOers share food they grow and learn how to preserve their veggies through the program. Many GYOers also supplement their income by selling produce! There is a market gardening program within GYO called “Digging Deeper” as a step along ASD’s producer pathway.
The Producer Pathway Appalachian Sustainable Development The Producer Pathway was created in 2021 to help local farmers and gardeners of all skill levels understand the programs we offer and how we can help based on the knowledge they currently have and their educational goals.


Program Nonprofit Organization Description Contact
Apprentice Program and Field Day New Roots Community Farm We are in the infant stages of the program as we complete building out our infrastructure and fully integrate farm managers and online curriculum. We currently have a 6-month program and plan to launch a year-long program that folks can roll into for 18 months. We want to get the program certified in 2024 and really roll it out at that point.
Vallscreek Demonstration Farm Economic Development Greater East Our region has economic and community potential far beyond its mineral assets.
EDGE has been developing sustainable resource-based production lines with the capacity to scale into full regional economic sectors. EDGE partners with T & T Organics in western McDowell County, WV to provide training and field-to-market pilots in mountain farming appropriate productions.
Beginning Farmer Training Program Future Harvest CASA 12-month immersive training experience that combines a comprehensive classroom curriculum with hands-on learning at some of the region’s leading sustainable farms.
F2S Agrication/WVUP Agriculture Workforce West Virginia University Parkersburg WVUP Agriculture strives to provide beginning farmer education to any and all agriculturalists. F2S Agrication is a 2 -week program for high school students who recieve a $200 stipend for PPE and $700 completion stipend. Located in Parkersburg, WV on The Riverhawk Farm which is a 24.8 acre educational farm for local producers to receive hands on education in a variety of diverse trainings.