Chaffee County Building Farmers Program

Applications are currently being accepted for the inaugural Chaffee County Building Farmer’s Program to be offered in Salida.
The Colorado Building Farmers program builds farm community and farmer capacity through classroom and experiential learning for beginning farmers (0 – 10 yrs exp). The course is a series of 8 evening classes designed to help New Farmers/Ranchers explore farming as a business and provide Intermediate and Experienced Farmers/Ranchers with tools and ideas to refine and enhance their business management, production, and marketing skills.
Classes include Strategic Business Planning, Introduction to holistic management, agriculture modalities, market analysis, land acquisition/leasing, marketing/distribution, financial planning/business organization, budgeting, food safety and other risk management, production Q & A, and presentations of student-created business plans. A variety of local growers and academic specialists make up the cadre of speakers for this eight-week course.

When: Tuesday Evenings, January 31 – March 20, 5:30 pm – 8:30

Where: Chaffee County Fairgrounds, 10165 County Road 120, Salida
Cost: Costs for the course are $200 for new farmers/ranchers, $140 for intermediate farmers/ranchers, and $100 for experienced farmers/ranchers. Course fees include all tuition, expenses, and evening meals each week.
Application Process: Applicants will complete a short questionnaire about their experience and desires for the course, and a local advisory committee will screen applications to determine eligibility.
This course is open to new, intermediate and experienced farmers. Intermediate and Experienced farmers fuel the learning environment. Dinner provides time for socializing and networking. Sessions explore content useful to all levels of experience. New farmers learn in this community of farmer students and teachers.
For more information or an application, contact Kurt Jones at 719-539-6447.
The Colorado Building Farmers program is based upon work supported by NIFA under Award Number 2009-49400-05877 from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. CSU Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.

David Lynch Interviewed on KCFR “Colorado Matters”

Guidestone’s David Lynch recently sat down with Ryan Warner of Denver radio station KCFR’s Colorado Matters for an interview about the Chaffee County Land Link Initiative. The discussion highlights the concepts and motives behind this new program and also details some of its first participants. To check out the interview click on the following link, then scroll down the page to Wednesday, January 27 and click on the title, “Cultivating New Farmers & Ranchers”:

Colorado Matters: Cultivating New Farmers & Ranchers

Chaffee County Land-Link Initiative: An Update

By: David Lynch, Land-Link Director

In early 2009, Guidestone began exploration of the idea of launching a Land-Link Initiative here in the Upper Arkansas River Valley (see Introducing Guidestone’s Land Link Intitiative). Since that time, the Chaffee County Land-Link Initiative has been gaining considerable momentum. The Chaffee County Board of Commissioners recently embraced the program committing $5,000 in matching funds toward the USDA grant proposal that is currently being prepared by the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. Seven area nonprofit organizations and agencies have lent their support to this initiative by providing endorsements and several have stepped up and made pledges in matching funds toward the project. In addition, the program has received considerable attention state-wide from other organizations and leaders thanks to a recent article featuring the Land Link Initiative in the Denver Post.

At the recent annual convention of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU), policy was adopted by the delegates from a three-state area, to support a region-wide land link effort. RMFU’s Cooperative Development Center under the hand of director Ben Rainbolt is eyeing the Chaffee County Land-Link Initiative as the pilot for a statewide undertaking. Additionally, RMFU covered all expenses for David Lynch, Guidestone’s Land-Link Director, to attend a western region farm-link conference held in California. Considerable information and resources were provided at this event and David returns with increased enthusiasm for developing a Central Colorado region land-link program.

The USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant that is in progress, will provide the initial funding to get the Initiative off the ground. The grant proposal will be submitted in February, and if approved, will be awarded this next summer. Expectations are high and the land-link steering committee will continue laying the foundation in the coming months. Stay tuned for additional updates!

We would like to thank all of the organizations who have expressed their support of this program:

Central Colorado Foodshed Alliance
Chaffee County Board of Commissioners
Chaffee County Heritage Area
Chaffee County Planning Commission
GARNA
Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas
NRCS
Sonoran Institute

Guidestone’s Land-Link Program Featured on Front Page of Denver Post

Jason Blevins of the Denver Post recently visited with Land Link Director, David Lynch, and members of the Guidestone board to learn more about our newly developing Land Link program. From the article featured in today’s paper:

“A Land Link toolbox would include a variety of leases that protect both the new farmer and the landowner. It could be a crop share, a profit share or a straight land lease or lease-to-own. It would include an educational component for young farmers. It would require prospective tenant farmers to have a solid business plan.”

Read the entire article at this link.