New & Small Farms

Local agencies offer programs and assistance for new and small farmers.  Local SWCD and OSU staff may also schedule site visits to make recommendations for your operations.

Information for new or small farm operations:

  • OSU – New & Small Farm College: The New and Small Farm College is an eight-week program that introduces new and seasoned farmers to a wide variety of topics. Typically beginning in January, the program teaches participants how to set goals, plan, budget, and where to find resources if they choose to start a small farming operation. The course will lay out how to manage financial and farm records.
  • Grants & Low-Interest Loans for Ohio Small Farms: Starting a small farm business or expanding into a new farm enterprise can be an expensive venture. Thus, acquiring financing for the new farm enterprise is a necessity. The two methods to get free or low-cost assistance for new farm enterprises are grants and low-interest loans. This fact sheet includes a summary of these methods and resources for acquiring them.

Offered by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, this year-long farmer-led training and support program is designed to help early career farmers, committed to creating a sustainable farm business, achieve their goals.

The intensive, eight-part workshop series will enable farmers, with at least one year of production experience, to develop a whole farm plan through realistic goal setting, financial management, and assessment of resources, skills, and markets. Early career farmers will also receive the business planning tools necessary to successfully implement their plan.

While the 2019-2020 course is already underway, the program will be repeated in 2020.




The Ohio State University – South Centers

Mission:  The mission of the program is to improve the economic conditions and personal health of communities through growing new growers

Vision: Growing new growers will be accomplished through developing regional comprehensive full-time training programs, sustainable incubator farms, business cooperatives/networks, community support systems, and apprenticeship/mentor training programs. These regional efforts will be local near distressed communities to serve the unemployed/underemployed, food deserts, part-time growers, and local consumers.


  • Increase profits for small growers
  • Reduce small growers’ time/effort needed to successfully market
  • Provide jobs and start-up businesses for the under and unemployed
  • Provide more locally grown, fresh, safe food to Ohio’s distressed communities
  • Improve healthy eating of distressed community members

Major Components:

  • 900 hour, Full-Time, Pell eligible training program
  • Work experience on a 25-50 acre incubator farm for a full growing season
  • A growers’ cooperative for marketing, purchasing, networking, in-service, etc. supported by an Extension Educator and other community resources
  • State-wide support for training/business development work group, OSU and WVU Extension, OEOC, and OCDC
  • OPTIONAL BLENDED APPRENDICESHIP PROGRAM: ODOD/DOL approved 2,000 or 4,000 hour OJT/336 or 636 hour classroom/lab registered apprenticeship or formal mentor training programs (Growing only or growing-management)


In Southwest Ohio, we have many opportunities to connect with local producers through co-ops and farmers markets. Here is a comprehensive list of these opportunities throughout the area. For More information, see the links available below.