Farm Incubator programs provide fertile soil* for new farmers to grow independent farm businesses.*Pun intended
Their mission is to remove intimidating start-up barriers facing new
farmers, such as:
- Access to land, equipment, business planning assistance, and market
- Access to a community of knowledgeable growers
While new farm training programs have been around
for decades in the United States, sadly there are no long-term projects up
and running in Australia. The Intervale Center in Vermont (USA)
is one thriving example.
The co-operative runs 325 acres of reclaimed agricultural land, with resident
farms producing fresh produce, eggs, meat, and flowers under organic
principles. “Each year, between one and three new farm businesses join the
program as incubators, receiving subsidized rental rates, business planning
support and mentorship from established growers.”
PC: The Intervale
New farms are offered five year leases at lower
rates in the first three years while they establish their business brand in the
marketplace. During this time, full time professional staffs provide
administrative and technical support; be it with business planning or getting
produce to market.
After ‘incubatees’ five year term is up, the centre assists them to
find land off-site and make it on their own.
The centre also leases land to 5-7
established farm businesses who acts as mentors and leaders in the agricultural
To be eligible for selection, applicants present a business plan to demonstrate
market opportunity for their product, and have 1-3 years farming experience but
never have owned a farm.
Established in 1990, The Intervale Center has supported the
success of over 40 farms. Each year it provides over 273,000 kg of fresh
produce, and contributes about 60 full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs to the
Our aspiring young farmers need something just like
Check out these few: