Farmlinkmontana.org acts as a one-stop shop
By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
Between finding land, getting their finances in order, acquiring equipment and other vital pieces to run a successful agricultural operation, new farmers may find themselves being tugged in many different a directions.
A new online service in Montana is designed to provide new farmers and ranchers with the answers to many of the questions they may have.
Farmlinkmontana.org includes information on finances, marketing, internship and mentorship information. The new site also acts as an avenue for people selling land to connect with farmers looking to acquire land, and provides access to in-person classes about agribusiness.
Farmlink Montana snapshot
“Connecting Montana’s beginning farmers and ranchers with the tools they need to succeed,” the site’s homepage reads.
Annie Heuscher, program director for Community Food & Agriculture Coalition in Missoula told the Helena Independent Record that many beginning farmers knew resources existed but didn’t know where to find them.
The website launched after the coalition received a $250,000 grant from the USDA.
Sue Ann Streufert, director of member relations with the Montana Farm Bureau told the Montana newspaper that helping young farmers get started is key in maintaining a healthy agricultural industry; according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the average age of a principal operator in 2014 was 58.9.
Start2Farm.gov estimates the average age of farmers across the United States is about 57 years old – up from 55 years old about five years ago; there’s also been a 30 percent increase in farmers over 75 years old and a 20 percent decrease in farmers under 25 years old.