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CERTIFIED FARM SEEKER PROGRAM

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Certified Farm Seeker Program

Over the past few years, the Office of Farmland Preservation (OFP) has been asked to provide additional assistance and opportunities for beginning and expanding farmers seeking beyond just the existing Virginia Farm Link database.  Working in partnership with the Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers, in 2012 OFP developed a Certified Farm Seeker (CFS) program designed to provide individuals seeking farming opportunities with the tools needed to successfully demonstrate their farming commitment and vision to interested landowners. The CFS program uses the five curriculum modules (whole farm planning introduction, business, land acquisition and tenure, marketing, and on-farm experience) developed by BFRCP and will help farm seekers develop a farm business plan and resume, as well as demonstrate on-farm experience. The program is designed to help all levels of beginning and experienced young farmers who are looking to farm or to expand their farm. 

Who can become a Certified Farm Seeker?
The program is designed for farmers at all levels:
○Beginning
○Established
○Transitioning

How do you become a Certified Farm Seeker?
The CFS Program is designed around helping interested farmers produce a business plan and resume, as well as demonstrate on-farm experience. Five Whole Farm Planning Modules (listed below) are available as resources to guide you through this process. Each module contains objectives, questions, and possible activities to help you reach your goals. The curriculum is designed to be flexible and can be applied to farmers at every experience level. Please click on the table below to learn about the five (5) modules.

What are the benefits of becoming a Certified Farm Seeker?

  • Participants in the CFS program will be given priority in the Virginia Farm Link database, increasing their chance of being contacted by a landowner.
  • Participants in the CFS program will received landowner matching facilitation by the CFS Program Coordinator.
  • Participants in the CFS program will be invited to numerous networking and social opportunities to interact with other farmers and landowners.
  • Certified Farm Seekers are eligible for partial reimbursement for fees paid to service providers related to the farming operation (cost-share of 75% of the reimbursable costs up to a $500 per Certified Farm Seeker).

How can I apply for this program? 
Download the Certified Farm Seeker application (pdf or docx), and send the completed application to the certified farm seeker program coordinator  at certifiedfarmseekers@gmail.com, or Virginia Farm Bureau, P. O. Box 27552, Richmond, VA 23261.

Who has successfully completed the CFS program?

There are currently 11 farmers who have successfully completed the CFS program. Many more farmers are in various stages of completing the certification.

Click here to view the Certified Farm Seekers List.

For more information, please contact:

Andy Sorrell
VDACS Office of Farmland Preservation
804.786.1906
Andrew.Sorrell@vdacs.virginia.gov

Ron Saacke
Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers
804.514.4202
ron.saacke@vafb.com

Certified Farm Seeker Program Coordinator
804.290.1030
certifiedfarmseekers@gmail.com

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