Beginning Farmers Outreach meeting will be April 23

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Soil and Water Conservation District will host a free workshop for beginning farmers and ranchers on April 23 at 6:30 p.m.

The USDA/NRCS Education & Outreach Beginning Farmer and Rancher Resources and Opportunities workshop will take place in the John E. Jones Ag. Building Auditorium, located at 54 Kelley Lane in Columbiana.

“This will be the first meeting that our district has held in Shelby County,” Kim Joiner, with the Shelby County Soil and Water Conservation District, wrote in an email April 15. “We are anticipating positive results.”

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) is an important tool to provide training, education and outreach to a new generation of agriculture, according to a brochure.

The goal of the project is to encourage and assist producers and ranchers to own, maintain and operate farms and ranches independently, to participate in agricultural programs and improve their overall farm management skills, according to Joiner.

The Outreach Program provides a wide range of outreach and assistance through available USDA farm programs and other areas to increase farm profitability and promote sustainability.

The workshop agenda includes programs available from USDA, such as Natural Resource Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency and Rural Development; Soil & Water Conservation District Support; Alabama Cooperative Extension System programs for farms; and Alabama Forestry Commission programs for timber management.

Joiner said space is still available for people to sign up to attend.

Registration is encouraged. To reserve a spot, contact Kim Joiner with the Shelby County Soil & Water Conservation District at (205) 669-7136 Ext. 1.