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AFRI – FAS Small and Medium-Sized Farms (A1601)
August 17, 2023
Program Area Priority: This program area priority focuses on the development and/or adoption of new models to assist agricultural (farm, forest, or ranch) landowner/manager decision making with respect to appropriate scale management strategies and technologies to enhance economic efficiency and sustainability, including the viability and competitiveness of small and medium-sized dairy, poultry, livestock, crop, forestry, aquaculture, and other operations. The scope of this program area priority includes, but is not limited to projects that:
- Advance the production, profitability and post-harvest handling of specialty crops including high value-niche market crops such as hemp (if approved in your state), medicinal, aromatic, and essential oils.
- Develop effective strategies to aid in the development of research, education and extension/outreach programs to meet the needs of underserved small and medium-sized farmers and ranchers.
- examine the impacts of COVID-19 on small farm profitability, especially related to new costs related to direct delivery models, new markets and changing demand.
- Identify and develop affordable small farm appropriate digital agriculture tools that improve production, labor management and farm profitability.
- Outreach efforts that create opportunities for entry and farm viability for young, beginning, historically disadvantaged, veteran, or immigrant farmers and ranchers. Such efforts should address issues such as farm succession, transition, entry, and profitability through tools that ensure that the next generation of small and medium-sized farmers has access to the information and resources they need to operate their farms on a sustainable and profitable basis.
- Examine the varying forms of land tenure, including issues related to heir property, especially among aging and beginning farmers, and identify the opportunities and obstacles to land access and land transfer for younger farmers.
- The feasibility of small to mid-scale processing for fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen fruits and vegetables, value added processing for institutional buyers, or small-scale meat processing. Such efforts could also include direct to consumer markets. h. Develop effective strategies and tools to assist small and medium-sized forest/woodland owners in managing and sustaining their timberland.
- Research and develop effective strategies and tools to assist small and medium-sized farmers in making decisions about participating in livestock (including aquaculture) or crop production contracts.
- Research and develop effective strategies to aid in the development of efficient local and regional food systems.
- Evaluate and implement strategies to enhance access to markets by small and mediumsized farms.
- Research and outreach efforts that develop new tools to ensure that the next generation of small and medium-sized farmers have access to the information and resources they need to operate their farms on a sustainable and profitable basis.
- Examine the challenges of small and medium-sized farms to increase profitability, sustain farming as a livelihood, and transition to the next generation. Efforts could address issues such as production diversification and sustainability; barriers to markets and effects of social media; farmer savings behavior, financial decision-making and retirement; farm family resource allocation; and intrafamily succession.
- Develop strategies to address climate change with climate smart agriculture, food and forestry solutions including, but not limited to conservation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and other environmental concerns.
- Projects that expand access on crop and animal production systems with an emphasis on historically underserved farmers where applicable are welcome.
- Projects using indigenous traditional ecological knowledge are appropriate for this program area priority.