Search news


Story source




Extension news

MU news

MU news media

ADA Accessibile AddThis Widget

Workshop to help beginning farmers, ranchers, veterans understand ABCs of USDA, other agencies


Linda Geist
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9185

Published: Thursday, April 13, 2017

Story sources:

Karen Funkenbusch, 573-884-1268Patricia Barrett, 573-369-2394

ROLLA, Mo. – University of Missouri Extension invites beginning farmers and ranchers to attend a free workshop about resources offered by state and federal agencies.

“Understanding the Alphabet Soup of USDA Programs” will be held 9 a.m.-noon May 10 at the Phelps County Courthouse multipurpose room, 200 N. Main St., Rolla, said Patricia Barrett, MU Extension specialist. A second session designed for veterans will be held from 12:30-4 p.m.

Gregg Barrows, executive director of the Phelps County Farm Service Agency office, reviews resources offered to farmers and ranchers at FSA. Melinda Barch and Brad McCord of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will explain funding options through NRCS.

During the afternoon session, speakers will explain the planning and operational orders process needed to apply for state and federal resources available to veterans. Missouri AgrAbility Project state director Karen Funkenbusch and representatives from Vocational Rehabilitation Services and other agencies will give AgrAbility case studies.

“This is a great opportunity to meet your local USDA, FSA and MU Extension representatives and learn how to get started in farming and ranching,” said Barrett. “It is also a good time to network with others interested in farming and ranching.”

A free lunch is served. Register by May 8 by contacting Barrett at 573-369-2394 or You may also register at the MU Extension Center in Miller County, 134 Second St., P.O. Box 20, Tuscumbia, MO 65082.

MU Extension, through a grant from the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach to help veterans, Latinos and socially disadvantaged persons who want to farm, offers the program to increase agribusinesses and enterprise development. Karen Funkenbusch serves as director. Patricia Barrett, Debi Kelly and Eleazar Gonzalez serve as co-directors.

The USDA 2501 grant helps beginning farmers and others evaluate and plan their farm enterprise. Participants attend a set of practical seminars and field days to learn from MU Extension specialists, farmers and agribusiness operators. The grant comes at a critical time, Funkenbusch says. More than 300,000 veterans are expected to return to their rural Missouri roots in the next decade. “Many of them will seek work in agriculture,” Funkenbusch says. Latinos also represent one of the fastest-growing populations of new farm operators.

USDA helps fund this program as part of an $8.4 million set of grants to 24 states through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the 2501 Program. “Understanding the Alphabet Soup of USDA Programs” is offered near military bases and areas identified by USDA as “StrikeForce” and “Promise Zone” initiatives as part of the grant.