2501 Program (prior to 2010)
Location: Southeast Missouri "The Bootheel"
Extension Program Area: Small Farm Program
- Facilitate interactions between small, limited resource and minority farmers and USDA agencies.
- Promote opportunities for these farmers to participate in various programs sponsored by eligible USDA and other participating agencies.
- Provide target audiences with technical assistance on both conventional and alternative agriculture enterprises and practices for the purpose of increasing profits.
- Inform the collaborating families of value-added enterprises and specialty market opportunities, as well as resources and credit opportunities.
- Provide targeted audiences with training, especially in financial management and bookkeeping.
- Encourage and train families to use computers, risk management techniques and enterprises that enhance their income.
Lincoln University Cooperative Extension has been committed to helping Missouri's limited resource and minority farmers gain information and sustainability for many years. Since 1990 Lincoln University Cooperative Extension has served the needs of Missouri farmers through the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Program. The Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Program targets a significant population of minority farmers located in the southeast portion of the state known as the Missouri Bootheel. This area is characterized by limited employment opportunities, high poverty rates, and a depressed rural economy. Significant minority populations have been identified in other parts of the state such as Callaway County, in north Missouri. Most farmers participating in the program are small-scale farmers with limited funds and opportunities. Through Lincoln University's efforts to assist these under-served farmers, new opportunities are made available to them. The project has provided technical assistance through loan packaging, increased profitability, resource availability, increased participation in USDA programs and increased production. Priority is given to land retention as well as assisting young farmers with the opportunities to enter into farming. Youth are reached through farm safety and farming careers information, as well as entrepreneurial projects funded by USDA youth loans. Alternative and value-added agriculture is promoted through efforts such as the vegetable cooperatives in the area. Organizations and collaborations prove successful for our farmers to be brought together to work in partnerships. Agri-women programs are utlized to outreach and inform of assistance. The project assists rural community residents through housing rehabilitation, environmental concerns and collaborations that bring new concepts for rural resources.
- Provide workshops, trainings, and conference participation of farmers to educate themselves on such topics as the Minority Farm register, Farm Service Agency loan programs available, Natural Resource Conservation Service cost-share and program eligibility, and alternative crops.
- Increase knowledge and youth participation in agricultural entrepreneuship through careers in agriculture, as well as the FSA youth loans and resources. Mentoring families to interest the farm children in careers is an ongoing project.
- Assisting and mentoring beginning farmers to gain operating funds and make transitions of family farms to the next generation of farmers.
- Forming associations, organizations and cooperatives to gain profitability for small, minority and limited resource farmers.
- Promotion of alternative agricultural practices through increasing small farmer's knowledge of sustainable agriculture and innovative new projects.
- Outreach to landowners and operators to identify their demographical information and address their needs.