Innovative Small Farmer's Outreach Program
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 underserved, 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 can 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 the University of Missouri Extension (UME), other USDA and state agencies and nongovernmental 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.
In addition to working with small farmers and ranchers, we also focus on urban food production in the two largest cities in our work area. One of 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 annually.
- 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.
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Kansas City Food Hub Feasibility Study (pdf)
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Jim Pierce earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Horticulture studying fruits and vegetables from Northwest Missouri State University. He has 20 years experience raising small fruits, melons, tree fruit, and a variety of vegetables on a small scale. Selling at local farmers markets came as a result of growing produce. It was at the farmers market where he gained an understanding of how to market his products in an effective way. He has used his experience and education in the greenhouse to grow herbs and vegetables for retail. Through research and innovative ideas, he discovers ways to add value to the products produced by farmers. Jim is a Farm Outreach Worker for Clay and Platte Counties.
In his youth, Jim Pierce was inclined to find work on a Christmas tree farm, peach and apple orchard, a row crop farm, and a cow/calf operation. After a few years passed and some oats were sown, he quit an unrewarding manufacturing job and pursued a Bachelor's Degree in Horticulture from Northwest Missouri State University for several years. The study of fruits and vegetables, as a ray of sunlight through a tall roiling grey bank of thunder clouds on a summer evening, shed light on a new path to wander down. Since that time, he has raised small fruits, melons, a wide variety of vegetables, greenhouse herbs, vegetables and ornamental crops, tree fruits, as well as raising broilers, pork and sheep on a small farm in Missouri. Jim brings hands on experience and education as a Farm Outreach Worker to the small farmers of Clay and Platte Counties.
Miranda Duschack is based out of St. Louis where she serves as both the Innovative Small Farmers’ Outreach Program area coordinator and St. Louis County Farm Outreach Worker. Miranda has a dual emphasis BA in Sustainable Agriculture and Sociology from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington (2003) and seven consecutive years of training in production agriculture on small farms, in vegetable gardens, and orchards. Her past projects include working at a goat dairy crafting artisan cheese, slaughtering home grown turkeys for Thanksgiving sale, and maintaining an 80 acre CRP Iowa Tallgrass Prairie. Originally from the rural township of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin where her family has lived since the 1870s, Miranda was inspired to practice sustainable agriculture by encounters on her aunt and uncle’s dairy farm, in her parents’ large gardens and with the family’s “hobby” beekeeping business. In April 2010 she moved to Old North St. Louis, where she was an active member of Carl Kabat Catholic Worker House and New Roots Urban Farm where she tended the honeybees and gardens for the CSA.
Susan Jaster began a career in dairy farming in the early eighties in Arizona on a large commercial dairy. She continued dairy farming in Missouri on the 150 cow dairy that she co-owned with her husband Art and three children. During her farm career she was also a radio broadcaster and farm news reporter for a small radio station in Southwest Missouri. Susan and her family participated in the 4-H program for many years, and she will be celebrating 20 years of service with 4-H in 2012. She has always had a garden and cared for many species of animals throughout her life. Susan serves farmers in Ray and Lafayette Counties as a Farm Outreach Worker.
Farm Outreach Workers (FOW)
- Demetrius Moore - Southeast, MO
- Deangelo White - Southeast, MO
- Margo Jakobi - Central, MO