Program to Help Beginning Farmers
I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
Often times when we hear the words beginning farmer we associate them with youth. Kent Wright, President of the Washington State Farmers Union, says that when it comes to the Beginning Farmers Institute that isn’t necessarily the case.
WRIGHT: It’s just about giving a good chance for beginning farmers and ranchers in every sense of the word whether it’s young people taking over family operations or people who haven’t been in the farming and ranching industry maybe for 20 or 30 years. They grew up on farms and ranches and then went off and got jobs and now maybe at the age of 40 or 50 they’re wanting to get back into it. NFU, National Farmers Union, they kind of give these people a chance to go out and see what National Farmers Union does and then meet other farmers and ranchers and kind of learn a lot of different facets of the farming and ranching industry.
Wright co-owns and operates Wright Way Angus in St. John, Washington, and is himself a graduate of the Beginning Farmers Institute. He says that the program gives people a different set of tools that many farmers and ranchers don’t have starting out.
WRIGHT: There’s a lot of grants and loans and things like that that they teach about that kind of give people a heads up, and then also just being able to be around peers of a lot of different enterprises and industries. There’s not too many times you see a lot of people within the same class that are doing the same thing - from wheat farming, to cattle, to small vegetable and aquaponics, and a lot of different things like that.
Erin Bailey, whose family has farmed in the Palouse, has been selected as one of the 15 participants for the fourth annual class of the NFU’s Beginning Farmers Institute. We’ll be talking with her next week.
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.