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Resources and Guides

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Diagnostic Sampling Services 

Soils, Insects, Weeds, Plant Diseases

Soil Testing

Soil Test Kits

N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Agronomic Services – Soil Testing

Weed, Insect and Disease ID

NC State University Plant Disease and Insect Clinic – How to submit a sample

Other Diagnostic Services Offered by NCDA (Note: this is not a full list of services)

Agronomic Services – Plant Tissue Analysis

Agronomic Services – Solution Analysis

NC Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System

New and Beginning Farmers

Should I Grow [insert crop here]

How Do I Turn My Land Into a Farm – This article is a good starting point for those wanting to start a farm.

Growing Your Local Food Business in North Carolina, A Guide to Laws and Regulations – Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, A guide written for beginning and established farmers to help them understand the many federal and state laws and regulations that govern the production and sale of local foods. Specific sections provide outline requirements for farm-scale production and sale of meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, raw fruits, & vegetables, honey, and low-risk manufactured foods (e.g., pickles and jams).

Growing Small Farms – Growing Small Farms is a website dedicated to providing educational materials as well as resources for Small Farmers.

N.C. Cooperative Extension New and Beginning Farmer Website – There is growing interest in the exploration of farming as a new career in North Carolina and around the country. Much, though not all, of that interest stems from women and men of all ages that have no farming experience, but also captures farmers with up to ten years of experience who are working to develop their business. This page is a starting point, since aspiring farmers can glean resources and knowledge from other areas of this web portal.

AgPlan – Center for Farm Financial Management – AgPlan is powerful website developed to help rural businesses develop a business plan. AgPlan is free of charge for anyone to use individually or in educational programs. AgPlan was developed by the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota.

RAFI – How and Why to Get a Farm Number – This post from rafi explains what a Farm Number is and the benefits of having one.

What Do I Do With My Land Infographic – Niche Meat – This guide is designed to help new farmers who are interested in getting involved in meat production. The goal is to provide information regarding land size, costs, equipment requirements, and other factors that can influence a farmer‘s choice in livestock species and operation type. For further resources and guidance contact your local Extension Agent.

USDA Insurance Policy for Farms that Sell Locally  – USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) created this new policy based on research directed by the 2018 Farm Bill, and it includes feedback from producers who grow for their local communities. The policy will be available beginning with the 2022 crop year.

Grant and Cost Share Opportunities

RAFI USA Grant and Cost Share Opportunity Page

Union County Soil and Water Cost Share Programs

Farmers of Color Network Infrastructure Fund Grants

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Gaia Herbs Small Grants Program

The Livestock Conservancy Microgrants Program

Grants and Loans for farmers – USDA National Agricultural Library

Season Extension

High Tunnel Micro-Irrigation Guide From Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Seasonal High Tunnel Production: Organic Tomato Guide From Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

High Tunnel Farming Publication N.C. A&T Cooperative Extension


Agritourism for Small Farms in NC– This publication is intended for entrepreneurs interested in exploring agritourism. It offers suggestions for small farms with an emphasis on three areas: fall events, weddings, and educational activities (classes and camps).

NC Agritourism Networking Associaiton

Liability Defenses for Injury of Farm Visitors – This fact sheet was written to support educational needs of agritourism operators, and has been the subject to a number of presentations before and during the pandemic on the general concept of liability and how operations are protected by several sections of Chapter 99E of the NC General Statutes.

Liability for Injury from Livestock – This fact sheet concerns the status of North Carolina law regarding farm operator and landowner liability for injuries from animals on and off the farm. The publication is in response to questions from livestock agents and members of the public on such matters, such as when a cow pushes through a fence or gate and is discovered out on the highway by a motorist or law enforcement.

Land Access

NC Farm Link – NC FarmLink is a program of NC State Extension that connects farmers, landowners, and service providers across North Carolina, helping to grow the state’s agriculture industry. NC FarmLink maintains databases of available farmland and farmers looking for land, and works with landowners and farmers to ensure an appropriate and lasting match is made.

Lomax Research and Education Farm – Through our Student Outdoor Immersive Learning at Lomax (SOILLS) program, we provide hands learning opportunities to college students, STEM activities to K-12 and high school students, business incubation to Farmers-in-Training (FiTs), as well as workshops for farmers and the general public.

Farm Tool Rental Programs

Union County Soil and Water Seed Drill Rental Program – Other counties may have similar programs.

Sandhills AgInnovation Center Rental Program

Plasticulture Equipment Rental Cash Back Program for North Carolina Small Farmers

Meat Production/Livestock

NC Choices – NC Choices, an initiative of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in collaboration with N.C. Cooperative Extension promotes sustainable food systems through the advancement of the local, niche, and pasture-based meat supply chain in North Carolina. NC Choices provides information, technical assistance, educational programming, and networking opportunities for farmers, extension agents, meat processors, buyers, distributors, and consumers.

N.C Cooperative Extension -Union County Center Livestock Page – The Livestock Program offers assistance, education, and resources for livestock producers in Union County. Topics covered include cattle, equine, and small ruminants, as well as forage and pastures. On this page you will find resources and information for livestock producers, covering production, marketing, regulations, etc. as well as upcoming events.

Pastured Poultry for Small Farms in North Carolina– This guide provides an overview of pastured poultry production for small and beginning farmers in North Carolina, with a focus on planning that can result in a profitable poultry enterprise. This publication is a starting reference for anyone interested in pastured poultry production.

Pastured Pork for Small Farms in North Carolina– This guide provides an overview of pastured pork production for small and beginning farmers in North Carolina, emphasizing planning considerations for a profitable pork enterprise. This publication is a starting reference for anyone interested in pastured pork production.

Sheep and Goat Production for Small Farms in North Carolina– This guide provides an overview of sheep and goat production for small and beginning farmers in North Carolina, emphasizing planning considerations for a successful small ruminant enterprise. This publication is a starting reference for anyone interested in raising sheep and goats on small farms.


N.C. Cooperative Extension Shell Egg Resource page

Selling Eggs, Meat and Poultry in North Carolina: What Farmers Need to Know

Fruit & Nuts

Tree Fruit

North Carolina Production Guide for Smaller Orchard Plantings


N.C. Cooperative Extension Strawberry Growers Portal


N.C. Cooperative Extension Blueberry Portal


N.C. Cooperative Extension Blackberry & Raspberry Portal


Pecan Tree Selection

Integrated Pest Management for Pecans in North Carolina


Market Gardens for Small Farms in North Carolina– This guide provides an overview of market gardens for small and beginning farmers in North Carolina, with a focus on planning that can result in a profitable market garden enterprise. This publication is a starting reference point for anyone interested in market gardens.

2022 Southeast US Vegetable Crop Handbook

SARE – Harvesting Crops for Market

UC Davis Post-Harvest Resource

ATTRA Market Gardening: A Start Up Guide

N.C. Cooperative Extension Fresh Produce Safety

Mushrooms and Other Specialty Crops

N.C. Cooperative Extension New Crops and Organics Portal

NCAT ATTRA, Mushroom Cultivation and Marketing

Fresh Produce Safety for Mushrooms

Honey Bees

NC State University Apiculture Program Homepage

Union County Beekeepers Association

Honey and Beekeeping Laws – North Carolina State Beekeepers Association