The ISFOP is part of Lincoln University Cooperative Extension (LUCE), created to help the small farmers and ranchers of Missouri, especially those who are socially disadvantaged and under-served, to raise the level of efficiency on their farms while taking good care of the soil, water and the environment. A vast body of resources is available from universities, government agencies and all sorts of organizations for small farmers. Unfortunately, many of the small farmers and ranchers are unaware of the information on opportunities. ISFOP will make farmers aware and assist them to access these resources so that they may improve their farms and farming operations, which in turn will improve their overall well-being.
The information provided by ISFOP to small farmers will help them adapt to a rapidly changing economy. We work in partnership with University of Missouri Extension (UME), other USDA and state agencies, and non-governmental organizations to provide research-based information on various farm topics to help farmers:
- Lower input costs
- Improve farming skills
- Increase yields/productions
- Improve record keeping systems
- Try new enterprises
- Find niche markets and improve marketing skills
- Add value to the harvest/products
The Way the Program Works
There are currently two Regional Small Farm Specialists (ISFOP Coordinators), one located in Kansas City and one in St. Louis. They work with and coordinate the activities of Farm Outreach Workers (FOW's) who work and live in the counties surrounding the two metropolis (see "Counties We Work In" below). If you qualify as a small farmer (see "Eligibility" below), you can then schedule an appointment with the FOW in your county. He/she will visit you on your farm and do a site walk. We encourage you to discuss the goals and plans for your farm with the FOW, and come up with realistic ways to achieve your goals based on the resources available. The FOW will give you relevant technical information that will not only help you realize your goals and plans, but also increase your skills in farm management and best business practices. The FOW will also inform you of any upcoming workshops/events in your area that you may wish to participate in. With these available resources, you should be able to raise your income level and have a more profitable and well-managed farm. Please see an example of ISFOP in action here: "A Farm Advocate"
In addition to working with the small farmers and ranchers, we also focus on urban food production in the two largest cities in our work area. One our goals is to help limited resource minority residents, especially the elderly, get access to fresh, nutritious produce. We have formed partnerships with various groups and community garden organizations that promote Urban Agriculture. If you are interested in growing a garden in your backyard or in your neighborhood, please contact us.
As interests arise in various aspects of farming, we will be offering relevant workshops or trainings.
Here are some of the workshops we have offered in the past:
- Community gardening
- Goat farming
- Vegetable grafting
- Native Plants for Pollination and in Landscaping
- Grow Your Farm
- Pastured poultry
- High Tunnels
You are eligible to participate in the ISFOP if:
- Your family lives on a farm.
- Your family provides the management and most of the labor on your farm.
- Your total family income is less than $50,000.
- You have innovative ideas, and you want to improve your farm income.
- You are a new farmer or an urban gardener in need of assistance.
Counties We Work In
|West Central Region||East Central Region|
Dr. K. B. Paul
Phone (573) 681-5312
Fax (573) 681-5313
Small Farm Specialist, FOW
Susan Jaster, FOW
Jim Pierce, FOW
Small Farm Specialist, FOW
St. Louis County
Janet Hurst, FOW
eXtension -- Goat
University of Missouri Extension
Missouri Alternative Center
Missouri Agricultural Electronic Bulletin Board
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
National Organic Program