LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) – A Utah college is aiming to help refugee and Native American farmers in a new program.

Utah State University Extension (USU) recently received a grant to fund programs focused on providing instruction and experience in farming opportunities for future farmers.

The grant was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

“Strengthening and growing the pipeline of the next generation of farmers and ranchers is vital to the continued success of American agriculture,” says NIFA Director Carrie Castille. “We recognize that beginning farmers and ranchers have unique needs for education, training, and technical assistance. Their success, especially in the first 10 years, often hinges on access to reliable, science-based information and the latest educational resources so they can improve their operations’ profitability and sustainability long-term.”

The grant will create two new farms in Utah and expand three existing incubator farms. Incubator farms are small pieces of land where beginning farmers can hone their professional skills and even launch small businesses. USU will provide workshops and technical assistance in farming-related industries including production, marketing, food handling and safety, financial management, USDA programs, and more.

Project organizers hope this program will allow participants to gather knowledge of small-scale and urban farming systems, provide a source of income for refugee farmers, and expand economic development and access to fresh produce in rural Native American communities.

“We are excited to continue current programs for refugee and Native American farmers and expand them over the next three years,” says Kynda Curtis, USU Extension professor and economist. “This grant program is vital to the health and economic well-being of the farmers it serves.”

To learn more about USU Extension programs, click here.