Skip to main content

Logo for N.C. Cooperative Extension N.C. Cooperative Extension Homepage

Small Farms

The Small Farms Program is centered around building capacity for new and beginning farmers as well as established operations. On this page, you will find resources related to production and marketing for farms growing and selling in the local food system.

Timely Topics for Small Farms 

Want to add your farm To the Visit NC Farms App and Union County Local Food Website? If you are a Union County Farmer that sells directly to the public check out these free marketing opportunities. Apply to be added to the sites by filling out the Producer Questionnaire here.

Conferences, Field Days and Classes

High Tunnels/Season Extension

Carolina High Tunnel Meetup 
Register once and attend any meetup occurrence, happening on the second Tuesday of each month at noon, March – December.

Sustainable Agriculture

NC A&T Small Farms Week – March 19 – 26th

CFSA Sustainable Agriculture Conference

Farm Business

NC Farm School

Meat

Carolina Meat Conference

Honey Bees

Union County Beekeepers Association – Bee School

Beekeepers Education and Engagement System – NCSU Apiculture Program

Resources and Guides

New and Beginning Farmers

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.

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.

Grant and Cost Share Opportunities

RAFI USA Grant and Cost Share Opportunity Page

Gaia Herbs Small Grants Program

The Livestock Conservancy Microgrants Program

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 N.C. 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.

Fruit & Nuts

Tree Fruit

North Carolina Production Guide for Smaller Orchard Plantings

Strawberry

NCSU Strawberry Growers Portal

Blueberry

NCSU Blueberry Portal

Caneberry

NCSU Blackberry & Raspberry Portal

Pecan

Pecan Tree Selection

Integrated Pest Management for Pecans in NC

Vegetables

NCAT ATTRA Market Gardening: A Start Up Guide

NCSU Fresh Produce Safety

Mushrooms and Other Specialty Crops

NCSU New Crops and Organics Portal

NCAT ATTRA, Mushroom Cultivation and Marketing

Fresh Produce Safety for Mushrooms

Honey Bees

NCSU Apiculture Program Homepage

Union County Beekeepers Association

Small Farm Videos

Additional Content Coming Soon