First-of-its-kind online toolkit prepares farmers moving away from animal agriculture into plant-focused operations - Food & Beverage Magazine

First-of-its-kind online toolkit prepares farmers moving away from animal agriculture into plant-focused operations

A unique online toolkit is now available to farmers interested in transitioning from industrial animal agriculture to plant-focused farming. Mercy For Animals’ Transfarmation project, in partnership with Animal Outlook and Miyoko’s Creamery Dairy Farm Transition, created the Farmer Toolkit, a hub for farmers to explore resources and funding opportunities to start their transitions. The Farmer Toolkit provides how-to guides for growing crops, state-by-state resources, guidance on marketing crops, enterprise budgets, webinars, and more.

 

“Animal Outlook’s Farm Transitions Program exists to provide a fair, sustainable, and profitable alternative to farmers who may be disempowered in the animal ag system, by providing a template to shift from animal-based agriculture to plant-based alternatives,” said Dr. T.J. Bradford, director of Animal Outlook’s Farm Transitions Program. “The Farm Transitions Program aims to provide farmers with equitable access within plant-based markets by assisting with comprehensive business planning; agronomic assistance and technical support, legal advocacy, finance and debt relief options; as well as publicity and farm visibility components.”

 

Transfarmation recognizes that farmers are an integral part of creating a food system that works for everyone and has helped farmers successfully transition their operations to plant-focused farms growing hemp and mushrooms.

 

“I was looking for alternatives to the contract poultry industry,” said former contract poultry farmer Greg Carey. “I wanted something that was entirely mine, where I didn’t have to worry about a huge corporation cutting me off and losing my income. That’s what I found in Transfarmation. I talk with the staff and their technical consultants regularly and together we’re creating a business that I fully control.”

 

“The farmers who want out of industrial CAFO models are looking for alternatives that provide for their families and put them back in control of their farming operations,” said Tyler Whitley, director of Transfarmation. “Our goal is working with farmers to create those alternatives so they can build their own sustainable businesses. This is how we can create a more just and sustainable food system.”

 

The Farmer Toolkit helps support and empower farmers with the information they need for success:

  • State-specific resources
  • Funding opportunities
  • Tips on applying for grants and loans
  • Marketing guidance for selling products
  • Information on growing specialty crops
  • Frequently asked questions

 

“The small family dairy farmer is getting squeezed out between competing with Big Ag and the declining consumption of fluid milk over the years. As a growing food company, we have a responsibility to directly support and engage farmers, especially when they are struggling. By helping a forward-thinking dairy farmer transition to growing regenerative specialty crops, we can uplift farmer livelihoods in the emerging plant-based food economy,” said Miyoko Schinner, founder and CEO of Miyoko’s Creamery. “Dairy Farm Transition offers holistic resources to the farmer such as technical assistance, educational resources, small grants for material needs, and finally and most importantly, a guaranteed income during the transition. We will also be purchasing the crops from the farmer to use in our cheeses and butter.”

 

To schedule an interview with Tyler Whitley, director of Transfarmation, contact Elizabeth Millner at ElizabethM@MercyForAnimals.org.

 

To schedule an interview with Dr. T.J. Bradford, director of Animal Outlook’s Farm Transitions Program, contact Jim Amos at Jim@Scout22.com.

 

To schedule an interview with Emma Stein, program manager of Miyoko’s Creamery Dairy Farm Transition, contact Vanessa Santos at Vanessa@MonaCreative.com.

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