Small Farms

Military Veteran Small Farms Program

This project is a collaboration of: 

  • University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, USDA Agriculture Research Service, 
    National Center for Appropriate Technology, University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry, 
    Appalachian State University,  California Polytechnic State University



This interactive workbook is designed to provide business benefits with the small farmer in mind. The workbook focuses on creating and using, dominate social media platforms; such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Social Media is used to boost businesses and allow for authentic views into small farming. Utilizing social media is sometimes a daunting task, requiring the use of technology, time and creativity. The workbook is designed for all skill levels, to help make the most of social media marketing, without making the task too difficult, and in turn offers farm benefits through sales, interest, new and repeat customers. Check out the Social Media Toolbox and get your free download of this interactive workbook and enhance your business using social media. 

  • If you would like to request a copy of the Social Media Toolbox, please send your name, address and phone number to Sarah Bramall at:

Three webinars have been hosted to learn more about using social media for farmers, you can find those on ATTRA-NCAT's website, or below:


The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry (UMCA) annually hosts an Agroforestry Academy. The Agroforestry Academy took place July 21-26, 2019. During the week long workshop, participants will gain knowledge both in and out of the classroom in areas such as; Silvopasture practices, windbreaks, alley cropping, forest farming, Elderberry production, infrastructure for agroforestry adoption, riparian and upland forest buffers, marketing for agroforestry and more. Participants will engage in farm tours throughout the week to gain hands on experience in areas with specialty crops, biomass and climate change, Chestnut alley cropping, agroforestry and wildlife and more. For more information about upcoming agroforestry workshops visit the Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri. You can also find in the Agroforestry Academy brochure.


Customized internships for prospective farmers provide a unique learning opportunity to work closely with mentors and our network of successful farmers. Our internship program is based on being flexible to both the farmer and the intern. We have a veteran farmer who serves as the mentor and is the one to develop the position to fit what the intern is looking for and match what the farmer has to offer.

Intern Hosts:
  • Across the Creek Farm - West Fork, AR
    Across the Creek Farm is a family farm located in Northwest Arkansas. This farm is owned and operated by Terrell Spencer, his wife Carla, and three children. Terrell works as a partner on our BFRDP Grant and helped establish our internship program. The farm started with raising free range poultry, and selling the meat and eggs locally at the Farmer’s Market. Their farm and customer base has grown into diversified livestock with poultry, swine and goats. They continue to sell at the local Farmer’s Market, as well as in local whole food grocery stores and restaurants which serve locally raised food products. Across the Creek Farm has been a part of our internship program for multiple years. To see Spence's operation and story, visit his website at
  • New Life Farm, Lenoir - NC
    New Life farm is a first generation family farm that is dedicated to providing people with food that is both beneficial to the people who eat it and the environment in which it is grown. The farm is owned and operated by Cory Byrk and his family. New Life Farm produces organically grown field crops as well as pasture based livestock, including pigs, chickens, turkeys and ducks. Their mission is to “Equip our Nation’s Veterans with the knowledge and skills to succeed in the Sustainable Agriculture Sector. New Life Farm products are sold at their local Farmer’s Market and a restaurant which serves locally raised food products. You can see the story, the recipes and more at
  • Wholly Cow Farms - Judsonia, AR
    Wholly Cow Farms is owned and operated by Ryan Pace and his family. Ryan is committed to the ways of agriculture and sustainable farming. Ryan is passionate about serving veterans and active military, and educating them in the ways of sustainable farming. Wholly Cow Farms is a grass-fed, organic beef operation located in the heart of Arkansas. His passion is to provide, healthy and delicious tasting beef through his pasture-based operation. Their beef can be found at local markets and restaurants in the Searcy, Arkansas area. To find more information on Wholly Cow Farms, visit their website at and to read an impressive article published in the Ozarks Farm and Neighbor on the Ryan Pace family, click here.



The SSAWG conference reaches approximately 1500 participants from in all areas of sustainable agriculture. Participants come from all over, but specifically the Southern region to discuss their farming practices, new and improved methods of sustainable farming, marketing techniques and much more. The 2019 SSAWG conference, Practical Tools & Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms, took place January 23-26, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Through this project, we offered multiple scholarships to cover registration costs, and a handful of full-scholarships (including travel, lodging, registration, etc.) to attend the conference to veterans wishing to participate. We are excited that the 2020 conference will again take place in Little Rock, Arkansas, January 22-25. Continue checking back for information on military veteran scholarship opportunities to attend and participate in the conference. 


Visit the USDA Blog for great reads on Military Veteran Farmer Success StoriesFarm Answers (a One-Stop Shop for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers)Business Tips and more! The Farm Service Agency (FSA) has recently launched an outreach program to help many different groups of people, including Military Veterans and New and Beginning Farmers. For the downloadable brochure for Military Veteran Farmers, click here.


Through this grant, we offer free online education modules covering many sustainable and integrated small farm topics: Pastured Poultry Production, Pastured Sheep and Goat Production, Agroforestry, Business Planning and Farm Safety. There are currently 35 modules listed below on this webpage. Continue to check back for updated and more interactive educational presentations on sustainable farming and also look for the upcoming Spanish versions of the modules to be added to reach a more broad audience.

Each module is a downloadable PDF:
There is also a Spanish version available in 35 of the modules.


Rotational Grazing
This presentation contains information to better understand the primary uses and benefits of rotational grazing, setting up a rotational grazing plan, and offers a review of basic animal handling principles.

Common Tools and Equipment for Rotational Grazing
This presentation contains information regarding common tools and equipment used in a rotational grazing system, how to utilize different approaches to setting up both permanent and temporary fencing and identifying unique considerations for small ruminants in a rotational grazing system.

Common Beef Cattle Breeds
This presentation contains information regarding common beef cattle breeds for the United States. Pros and cons are listed for the breeds, as well as their origin, average size and their production benefits.

Livestock Handling
This presentation contains information on how to properly handle livestock, cattle in particular. The presentation covers animal behavior, handling to reduce stress, corral layout and handling efficiency. 


Chicken Breeds for Small Farms
This presentation contains information regarding poultry production and discusses the most common chicken breeds for meat or egg production, as well as dual purpose breeds. It also discusses some general breed characteristics that could be used for breed selection.

Meat Chicken Breeds for Small Farms
This presentation contains information regarding some of the most common chicken breeds used for meat production, including information regarding their temperament, foraging abilities and ideal body weight for market.

Egg Layer Breeds for Small Farms
This presentation contains information regarding some of the most common chicken breeds for egg production, as well as some notes on egg production and marketing.

Safe Egg Handling
This presentation describes the importance of cleaning eggs (dry or wet cleaning), candling and marketing of the eggs.

Home Poultry Processing, Part One
One of the biggest hurdles for small poultry processors is the slaughter and processing of the birds. This presentation discusses some of the legal regulations regarding poultry processing, the different types of processing situations and information regarding slaughter, marketing and processing units.

Home Poultry Processing, Part Two
One of the biggest hurdles for small poultry processors is the slaughter and processing of the birds. This presentation discusses the processing method from stunning and slaughter, defeathering, cutting and evisceration, preparing the carcass and packaging the carcass.

Pastured Poultry
Pastured poultry is a sustainable agriculture technique that calls for raising poultry on pasture, as opposed to indoor confinement. This presentation describes the care of the birds from the hatchery and brooder to raising them on pasture, it also provides information on poultry equipment (waterers, feeders, housing systems for the different stages of the birds), and provides a brief overview about organic poultry production. It also contains information regarding egg production on pastured conditions.

Molting in Layers
Molting is a normal part of the life of the laying hens where they shed the old feathers and grow new ones. However this process will interfere with egg production and can lead to health problems in the animals. This presentation discusses the molting process, some of the health and behavior problems that can develop and some husbandry recommendations to implement during the molting season.

Pastured Layers
This presentation contains information about the different breeds of chicken egg layers, brooding and keeping of the layers, recommended management practices for the housing, nest boxes, egg production and marketing, shell defects, and a brief description of egg cleaning and storage procedures.

Pastured Duck Production
Duck production is an easy and real alternative to raising chickens. This presentation discusses some of the most common duck breeds, duck production, nutrition and husbandry and some aspects of egg and meat production.

Poultry Health
This presentation discusses some of the preventive measures used to prevent the entrance of disease and pests to your poultry farm. It also discusses some of the most common disease signs in poultry, treating and reporting sick birds and presents information about the different diseases that can be transmitted from birds to humans. Finally, it presents information about some of the most common ways to dispose of poultry mortality on the farm.


The Basics of Goat Production
This presentation discusses basic aspects of goat husbandry and management including information about their behavior and handling, nutrition, fencing and housing recommendations.

Goat Production in Pasture
This presentation contains information regarding the behavior, nutritional requirements and management of goats kept in pastured areas. It presents information regarding intensive grazing management and discusses some aspects of goat reproduction and kid management.

Common Health Problems in Goats and Sheep
Even with proper management and nutrition, all animals can develop health problems. This presentation discusses some of the most common health problems in sheep and goats in the southern part of the country and some preventive strategies.

Sheep Production
This presentation discusses the most common breeds of sheep present in the US and the different products that are commonly marketed (meat, milk, wool, hair, leather products, lanolin and others). It presents information regarding husbandry and management of sheep, including nutrition, grazing, reproduction and some marketing strategies.


Agroforestry Overview
This presentation is a thorough overview of the various components of Agroforestry.

What is Agroforestry?
Agroforestry is an intensively managed farming system that uses trees and shrubs in combination with livestock, crops or both. This presentation discusses some of the benefits of agroforestry, and explains the silvopastoral production system (trees, shrubs and grazing livestock).

Agroforestry Practices
This presentation discusses some of the most common types of agroforestry practices such as forest farming and alley cropping.

Agroforestry Riparian Buffers and Planning
This presentation discusses the use of agroforestry principles in the conservation and management of riparian buffers and presents detailed recommendations about planning and management of agroforestry operation.

Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainable agriculture relies on and protects nature by taking advantage of natural goods and services, such as biodiversity, nutrient cycling, soil regeneration and integrated pest management. This presentation briefly describes strategies for soil and water protection, integrated pest management, rotational grazing and multi species grazing strategies.

Integrated Farms
This presentation describes multiple examples of farming strategies that incorporate different production elements such as livestock, crops and trees in the same farm. It presents some of the goals and challenges of this system and illustrates the different marketing and production strategies available under this method.

Integrated Pest Management
This presentation discusses the use of IPM principles in a sustainable farm operation. Integrated pest management is an environmentally sensitive approach to dealing with animal, insect and plant pests. It uses information about the life cycles of pests to select control strategies that pose the smallest possible risk to people, property, animals and the environment.

This presentation contains information regarding water conservation strategies that promote water infiltration and minimize water loss, erosion and salinization problems in the farm. It presents information regarding the preservation of waterways in the farm and different irrigation systems.

This presentation discusses different farming practices designed to maintain and improve soil fertility in the farm and to enhance crop productivity while promoting underground biodiversity and avoiding erosion.

Starting a Farm

This presentation discusses some of the different factors that beginning farmers should consider when starting a farm (such as production and marketing options, business plans, insurance, finances and record keeping).

Developing a Business Plan
In this presentation we introduce information about the importance of creating a business plan, define and describe the components of a business plan and provide access to resources that can help to develop a business plan.

Developing a Personal Plan
This presentation describes information about the different components of a personal plan and its importance on personal and business planning.

Financial Record Keeping
This presentation discusses the importance of keeping a good record system and compare different systems for keeping records in the farm.

The Balance Sheet & Statement of Cash Flows
This presentation contains basic definition and uses of the balance sheet and statement of cash flow and their importance for accurate financial assessment and planning in the farm.

Arkansas' Right-to-Farm Law
This presentation introduces the use of the Right-to-farm statute as a defense strategy for farmers in the state of Arkansas and other parts of the country.

Legal Issues in Food Safety
This presentation provides a review of food safety rules and regulations that could impact a farm producer, as well as overview of laws in the state of Arkansas that oversee the rules for keeping livestock on your property.

Contracting Issues in Agriculture
This presentation contains information about what makes a valid contract and discusses some of the basic principles of contract law and the Uniform Commercial Code as it applies to agricultural contracts.


Farm Safety Overview
This presentation is a thorough overview of the multiple parts of Farm Safety.

Part One: Tools, Equipment & Electricity
This presentation contains information related to the safe use of tractors, machinery, ATV’s, different types of tools and equipment and electricity hazards and safety precautions in the farm. It also discusses the correct way to lift heavy objects.

Part Two: Livestock, Chemicals & Gases
This presentation includes information about potential accidents and common health problems associated with keeping and handling livestock, chemical substances and risks and sources of toxic gases and dust in the farm.

Part Three: Weather & Fire
This presentation contains information about different risks associated to weather phenomena (heat, cold, rain, lightning, tornado, etc.) and fire hazards and prevention and safety.

Part Four: Miscellaneous
There are many hazards and potential problems in the farm. In this presentation we discuss farm safety issues like ladder safety, highway traffic, noise, gases in enclosed spaces, and potential problems with ponds, old and abandoned wells and buildings.



Sarah Bramall, Project Coordinator
Phone: 479-575-2401 • Email:

Dan Donoghue, Project Director
Phone: 479-575-2913 • Email:

Annie Donoghue, Co-Project Director, USDA-ARS Research Leader
Phone: 479-575-2413 • Email:

These projects are in conjuction with the following grants:
USDA-NIFA-BFRDP 2017-01804
USDA-NIFA-AFRI 2014-05471

Previous Grants Include:
USDA-NIFA-BFRDP 2014-07424
USDA-NIFA-BFRDP 2010-03143