Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Small Farms Website

LABELLE, FL. -- Small farmers in Florida face a variety of issues and
challenges and with less resources available to them than larger farms,
they can be at a competitive disadvantage. With small farms representing
over 90% of farms in Florida, ensuring their success is vital to the
agriculture industry in the state. The UF/IFAS and FAMU have created a
website (http://smallfarms.ifas.ufl.edu) that specifically addresses the
needs of small farmers.

"The website was developed to make small farm information accessible in
one location." said Bob Hochmuth, the Multi-County Agent at the UF/IFAS
North Florida Research and Education Center in Suwannee Valley. "Small
farmers may be seeking information on getting started in farming or
considering one of many alternative enterprises and it is all pulled
together in one site to make the search easy."

The website provides links and other resources for small farmers
including, how to get started, enterprise budgeting, business planning,
financing grants, and much more. Farmers using the site can select topics
on enterprises of special interest to them, including aquaculture, cut
flowers, livestock, and organic farming. Each topic includes information
on production, marketing, and economics as well as other appropriate links.

Input from small farmers and allied organizations, identifying issues
critical to small farmers, such as access to profitable markets, business
skills development, accessible technical information, and alternative
crops and enterprises, was used to help design the site. Input from
counties throughout Florida identified the need for small farm educational
programs to be developed.

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