Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Delaware, Maryland entice and train young farmers with grants and no-interest loans

Cara and Philip Sylvester, on their farm
in Delaware (State photo)
Two states have recently introduced programs that make it easier for young people to start farming.

In Maryland's Montgomery County, this month County Executive Isiah Leggett announced an initiative that will train young farmers and place them on privately owned land to grow sustainable crops and livestock for five years or more. The Washington Post reports that county officials hope to approve five to 10 participants this winter and prepare them to farm in the spring. Funded by a federal Small Business Administration grant, the New Farmer Pilot Project aims to help build small farms at a time when the county is struggling to preserve farming. (Read more)

In Delware, 10 young farm families and individuals are on their way to owning their dreams with help from an economic development program designed to boost agribusiness in The First State. The farmers from Kent and Sussex counties all received help purchasing land – nearly 900 acres total – from the Delaware Young Farmers Program, marking its first year. The no-interest loan program was launched in July 2011 by Gov. Jack Markell as a way to reduce the capital investment for young people looking to set up agribusiness operations. It was funded through $3 million in the fiscal 2012 budget. (Read more)

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