In support of young farmers in the US, the annual winter supper will be held on February 19th at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. We caught up with the YFC to ask them a few questions about the event, their fundraising and women in the dairy industry.

How exactly does NYFC support young farmers?

National Young Farmers Coalitionis committed to represent, mobilize and engage young farmers to ensure their success. Our work includes reforming policy to make land, capital and training accessible for beginning, diversified and organic farmers; facilitating a growing network of NYFC chapters; and providing farmer-to-farmer technical resources and assistance. We have a rapidly growing network of over thousands of farmers, ranchers and supportive consumers.

Do you provide grant funding?

At the moment, we don’t provide any grant funding.

Do you work towards farm-friendly legislation?, help young people with logistics, provide a volunteer network, access to other resources, all of the above?

All of the above. We try to engage our members in all of these areas.

What are some of the current projects that your working on at the moment?

Founded only four years ago, NYFC has already made significant progress:

  • Winning funding for training and support programs for beginning farmers from the United States Department of Agriculture in the 2014 Farm Bill;
  • Winning better access to credit for beginning farmers through the creation of a new Farm Service Agency micro lending program and through improved lending rules to help new farmers qualify for support;
  • Launching a bold new initiative toward affordable land access for farmers in the Op-Ed pages ofThe New York Timesand with the release of our report,Farmland Conservation 2.0: How Land Trusts Can Save America’s Working Farms;
  • Creating 25 local chapters nationwide, with dozens more in development. From Oregon to Missouri to Florida, our chapters bring young farmers together to learn, share, and build a stronger community;
  • Building a young farmer voice for water conservation in the West through our report“Sustaining Farming in the Arid West: Stories of young farmers, water and resilience”and accompanying film“Resilience”along withongoing farm tours

Can you tell us more about the women in dairy videos?

NYFC’s Bootstrap Blog (youngfarmers.org/blog/bootstrap) is one of our most popular projects. Each year we select five young farmers to chronicle their first season starting a farm. The blog is closely followed by our network and offers encouragement and inspiration to its writers and readers, many of whom are young and aspiring farmers themselves. In 2013, we partnered with Stonyfield to choose five women dairy farmers from Vermont, New York, Montana and Idaho to share their experiences and inspire a new generation to pursue to dairy farming.

Building on the success of the blog, we decided to give young women writers in the series video equipment so that they could create a personal visual and audio record of the successes and challenges that they face launching a career in dairy farming. We hoped that the films would extend and enhance the farmers ability to tell their stories with sound and images which had previously been confined to text.

Farmers featured in the videos are as follows:

Sarah Lyons Chase– Chaseholm Farm Creamery – She writes about her work herehttp://www.youngfarmers.org/bootstrap/chaseholm-farm/

Sarah grew up on a three-generation dairy farm in the Hudson Valley of New York.Her family sold the herd while she was in college and she has dedicated herself to bringing the family business back.She spent the past few years working on other farms in the area is in 2013 returned home to start managing her own sustainable agriculture dairy operation.She brings to this writing project not only the fierce determination of reversing the region’s loss of dairy farms, but a strong family heritage in her work

Ashlee Kleehammer– North Country Creamery Profile http://youngfarmers.org/bootstrap/north-country-creamery/

Ashlee worked on several dairy farms throughout the northeast before connecting with a retiring farmer at Clover Mead Farm in Keeseville, NY.In 2013 she is taking over not only the dairy operation but also developing a value-added business on the farm.Ashlee works with nearby vegetable CSA’s to provide a market for her yogurts, cheeses, and raw milk.

Any particular reason you highlighted dairy?

The one thing that all five writers have in common is a goal of successfully building a dairy operation that reflects the ideals of sustainable agriculture.Small scale dairies struggle to use sustainable practices and remain viable. Positive livestock practices have major consequences for health of humans, animals and the planet.


Find out more about the Young Farmers Coalition on their webpage and also buy your tickets for the event.