About - Technical Assistance Program
What is the Technical Assistance Program?
Angelic Organics Learning Center’s (AOLC’s) Technical Assistance Program (TAP) pairs farmers with consultants to provide targeted expertise and assistance in the areas of land acquisition, business management, production and marketing. The overarching goal of TAP is to improve the economic viability of farms in the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) network, and farms operated by graduates of the Stateline Farm Beginnings course.
AOLC’s Farmer Training staff works with farmer-applicants to identify a good consultant match for the farm and the targeted need to be addressed. Once a consultant is identified, the specifics of the consultation will be outlined in a Letter of Agreement, including the number of hours needed for the consultation, the hourly rate of pay to the consultant, the specific deliverables that will be achieved for the farm, and the percentage of the cost covered by the farm (up to 50%).
Consultancies typically are expected to deliver 10 hours of technical assistance to the farmer, including hours for meetings, research, written communications, and evaluation. Maximum hour limits for the consultancy will be determined with the agreed-upon consultant and outlined in the Letter of Agreement.
Both the farmer and the consultant will agree to fill out a brief evaluation form at the end of the consultation. The evaluation submitted by the consultant will also include the invoice to Angelic Organics Learning Center. A sample evaluation form/invoice will be provided. Whenever possible, consultations should take place on the applicant’s farm.
Please contact Shelbie, Farmer Training Program Assistant, at 815-389-8455 or Shelbie.email@example.com.
How have other farmers used the Technical Assistance Program?
Three Sisters Community Farm
Three Sisters Community Farm is a diversified biodynamic farm near Campbellsport, WI. Farmers Jeff and Kelly, a young couple with over ten years of experience, strive to grow healthy, nourishing food while building fruitful relationships both locally and regionally. Three Sisters provides CSA shares, sells at Milwaukee-area farmers markets, and also sells directly to restaurants. They have used Technical Assistance funds to work with a developer from Small Farm Central to improve the eCommerce features on their website to enable customized, flexible CSA shares and to calculate their weekly harvest targets.
Big Head Farm
At their farm in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Karen and Jody Warner recently added blueberries to their expansive list of produce that they sell at farmers markets in Chicago and through a CSA. In order to learn about blueberry management and how to set up a U-Pick operation for their 17-acres of berries, Karen used the Technical Assistance Program to work with a farmer-consultant who helped prepare her farm to obtain a GAP audit certification. This will enable Big Head Farm to sell through other marketing channels, such as small grocery store chains.
This project was supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant #2009-49400-05943.
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