By Shelby Ruud Jarman
Utah State University Extension recently received a grant to fund programs that will improve farming opportunities for refugees and Native American farmers in Utah. The grant comes from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“Strengthening and growing the pipeline for the next generation of farmers and ranchers is critical to the continued success of American agriculture,” said NIFA Director Carrie Castille. “We recognize that beginning farmers and ranchers have unique needs for education, training and technical assistance. Their success, especially in the first 10 years, often hinges on having access to reliable scientific information and the latest educational resources so that they can improve the profitability and sustainability of their operations over the long term.
The grant will help expand three existing hatchery farms and create two new farms in Utah. Incubator farms provide affordable access to small plots of land and infrastructure for beginning farmers to hone their skills and start farming businesses.
USU Extension will also offer workshops and technical assistance in the areas of production, marketing, food handling and safety, financial management, USDA programs, and more. Project partners include the Salt Lake City International Rescue Committee, the Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection, and the St. Christopher’s Episcopal Mission in Bluff.
In addition to assisting refugees and Native American farmers, this project will lead to a better understanding and knowledge of small-scale and urban farming systems, provide income and access to traditional foods to refugee farmers, and provide the necessary economic development and access to fresh produce in rural areas. Native American communities, said Kynda Curtis, professor and economist at USU Extension.
“We are excited to continue the current programs for Native American refugees and farmers and expand them over the next three years,” she said. “This subsidy program is vital to the health and economic well-being of the farmers it serves.
To learn more about USU extension programs, visit https://extension.usu.edu/.