Grant Opportunity

2013 Extension Risk Management Education Regional Priority

Growing Small Farm and Ranch Businesses

Applications that propose to utilize at least 70% of the program components as laid out in the Building Farmers in the West Local Coordinator Notebook may qualify for train the trainer instruction which will be provided by our partner institution Building Farmers in the West (BFW) leadership team at Colorado State University. To meet the 70% threshold, applicants will propose to utilize:

  • Curriculum for the three core topic areas (click on the Curriculum tab for course outline and details)
  • One or more of the elective topics (click on the Curriculum tab)
  • Evaluation forms for measuring changes in participants' knowledge, action and condition (click on the Assessment tab to view evaluation forms)
If your Pre-Proposal is selected to move forward to the Full Proposal Stage the following information will be required:
  • A letter of commitment from a member of the BFW leadership team at Colorado State University
  • A dollar amount in your grant budget for train the trainer support
  • Amount range – $2000 to $6000 (will depend upon level of train the trainer support needed)
  • Budget guidance will be provided

The purpose for this priority is to give applicant organizations serving beginning farmers and ranchers the opportunity to use existing methods and curriculum while leveraging partner resources which can result in smaller funding requests.

Keystone Principles

Two key elements of this program ensure a solid foundation for new farmers: first, capacity is being built using a classroom training program reinforced through interactions with University, producer peers, and community resources; and second, the program builds a strong network of producers involved in direct marketing that ultimately help to strengthen local agriculture and food systems.

Program Details

Program delivery consists of a sequence of classes where participants learn about business planning and accounting, regional direct marketing strategies, and business development resources and partners. Course “graduates” are encouraged to apply for producer mentorships or other experiential learning options to advance their business goals.


The growing demand for local, fresh foods has created new market opportunities.  These opportunities seem to be particularly rich in Western states.  N ew models of producing, marketing and managing labor intensive produce operations require training for some of the beginning farmers who are entering the industry to take advantage of new markets, but also, transitioning commercial producers who may seek to learn a different set of skills than their commodity-oriented operations required.

Program Mission

Beginning farmers who are completing this program will be able to create and maintain economically viable operations through the relevant knowledge, skills, tools, and experience this project offers.  In addition to traditional classroom education, participants grow and learn through the cooperation and education from community food organizations, successful growers, and Land Grant universities.

Being able to articulate my mission and goals has led to a more focused approach to my business, which means saving money on expenses, less waste, and striving to purchase quality stock. This means an overall improvement in the business and a happier farmer and family. Our community has become aware of us as a quality operation through our efforts and media exposure.” –-  Workshop participant testimonials [more...]









Began as a regional partnership to build community and capacity among a new generation of direct market farmers and local food systems.

For additional information, contact:

Dawn Thilmany McFadden
(970) 491-7220

Jo Ann Warner
(509) 477-2168


Initially funded by the USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program (grant award number 2009-49400-05877).