Where do you start when you have a project that needs funding? How do you know which program is best for the improvements you want to make? Where can you get help with your application? This online panel highlighted farmers who have used a variety of sources to finance their farm. They discussed the successes, challenges, and impact of these strategies on their quality of life and bottom line. Participants had the chance to ask questions and share their experiences as well.
Link to: Fact Sheet Strategies to Capitalize the Farm: Lessons from the Field
About the Farmers sharing experiences:
Mohammed Hannan, was raised on a family farm in Bangladesh, Mohammed Hannan moved to the US with his family a little over ten years ago. When he found it difficult to access the fresh, organic produce he had enjoyed as a child, Mohammed decided to grow his own. In 2018, he leased a small piece of land from New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and started Hannan Healthy Foods, a family farm centered on the core value that healthy food is not a privilege, but a right. Mohammed has now expanded to 7 acres in Lincoln, MA where he, his wife Kaniz, and their children, Arham and Afsheen, work hard to sustainably grow and sell award-winning produce at prices even their less fortunate neighbors can afford.
David Dumaresq grew up farming in Dracut, MA. After college he joined the Peace Corps and worked as a crop extensionist in Ecuador assisting farmers with soil health, crop yields, infrastructure, and marketing. In 1997 he returned to the US and continued farming, eventually purchasing his own farm in Dracut in 2006. He now operates a CSA with over 1000 members in addition to attending several farmers markets and offering school tours and PYO apples at the farm.
Willie Crosby is co-founder of Fungi Ally based in Hadley, MA which offers mushroom growing kits and supplies as well as extracts and supplements. He first began his journey in mushrooms with an internship in 2013. Willie is dedicated to learning everything about mushrooms and sharing his knowledge with others through production and education.
Elly Vaughan is the owner and operator of Phoenix Fruit Farm in Belchertown, MA. She began her tenure at Phoenix as the manager, and then purchased the property from the former owners in 2017. Elly has an extensive background in organic farming and a commitment to responsible land stewardship and sustainable growing practices. These include not using pesticides and herbicides and instead focusing on varietal selection, fostering beneficial species such as native pollinators, and soil health.
Kat Chang Laznicka and Peter Reed Laznicka own and operate Reed Farm in Sunderland MA, a small scale pastured poultry farm and state inspected poultry processing facility offering processing services to the farming community. Since opening in 2019, Reed Farm has been awarded state and federal grants to expand production and progress their on-site processing facility towards a USDA grant of inspection.
• Grant Writing for Farmers 101 Fact Sheet—Tips and advice for applying for grants, summarized from New Entry’s first Investing in Your Farm workshop
• MDAR Grants and Financial Assistance Programs Fact Sheet—Massachusetts agricultural funding opportunities, summarized from New Entry’s Unlocking MA Money workshop
• How to Start a Farm: Beginning Farmers and Ranchers—Extensive list of tips and resources from USDA on starting a farm
• MDAR A to Z Programs—Comprehensive list of MDAR funding opportunities
This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award number 2021-70027-34693, as an effort to connect Massachusetts' Underserved and Beginning Producers to Safety Net and Farm Support Programs.