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NC State Extension

New Producers / Beginning Farmers

Apprentice farmer harvesting carrots

Apprentice farmer harvesting carrots

There is growing interest in the exploration of farming as a new career in North Carolina and around the country. Much, though not all, of that interest stems from women and men of all ages that have no farming experience.

Many challenges and opportunities for new farmers are largely identical to those encountered by experienced farmers producing and selling food to local markets. Therefore, this page is a starting point, since aspiring farmers can glean resources and knowledge from other areas of this web portal.

The primary challenges to beginning farmers in North Carolina resemble those from around the country and include access to land, access to capital, and farm business planning training and support. Resources below may help you in answering some of your questions and addressing your challenges. Additionally, there are numerous organizations in North Carolina offering internships, apprenticeships, skill training, networking, and other kinds of support for new farmers.

USDA Beginning Farmer Resources

  • – The USDA-NIFA beginning farmer and rancher (BFRDP) clearinghouse, providing resources to help you get started farming, as well as tools to help more seasoned producers succeed.
  • USDA New Farmers website – Includes resources on Getting Started, Access to Land and Capital, Education, Risk Management, Protecting and Enhancing the Environment, Expanding Business, and more resources.
    • Personalize your search on the USDA website using the new Discovery Tool.

Training and Leadership Programs

*If you have an incubator farm in North Carolina and would like to have it listed on this website, email that request to

Resources for Beginning Farmers on the Business of Farming

Conferences for Beginning Farmers

  • Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s Sustainable Agriculture Conference
    Annual event based alternate years in Greenville, SC and Durham, NC. Generally has a beginning farmer workshop track and tour.
  • Organic Growers School – Annual Conference
    Annual conference in Western North Carolina, supporting new and existing farmers and gardeners interested in organic and sustainable agriculture.

Other Resources for Veterans Getting Started in Farming

USDA Rural Development – North Carolina