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Virginia Certified Farm Seekers Program


The Virginia Certified Farm Seekers (CFS) program is a partnership of the Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers and the VDACS Office of Farmland Preservation (OFP).  The CFS program provides individuals seeking farming opportunities with a method to demonstrate their farming commitment and vision to interested farm or farm business owners.

The CFS program is an online opportunity allowing farm seekers to show farm owners that the certified seeker has:

  1. A farm business plan;
  2. On-farm experience; and
  3. A professional resume that highlights the seeker’s farming knowledge.

How do you become a Certified Farm Seeker?

All Certified Farm Seekers: (1) are registered on Virginia Farm Link (2) have on-farm experience (3) have developed a farm business plan and (4) have a resume to demonstrate these items. More detailed information is provided below.

  1. Register for Virginia Farm Link: Registration can be done for free by following this link: Register as a farm seeker.  Once registered as a farm seeker you can search and contact farm owners via the Virginia Farm Link system.  Once you are a Certified Farm Seeker, you will be listed on the Virginia Farm Link Map (with a red tractor icon).  Non-certified farm seekers are not listed on the map and are not visible to farm owners to contact directly. Farm owners can only respond to non-certified farm seekers if the seeker sends a message to the farm owner first via the Virginia Farm Link system. Certified Farm Seekers also display the CFS logo prominently on their user profile. 
  2. On-Farm Experience: You will need to gather experience working on a farm before you may become a Certified Farm Seeker. You can gain farm experience in many different ways. Contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Office and join the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program (VBFRCP) to build your farming network and skill set.  If you have on-farm experience, then you are closer to becoming certified.  Complete the Whole Farm Planning Module listed below.
  3. Complete the Whole Farm Planning Module: To complete this step you need to complete the Whole Farm Planning Module.   Whole farm planning is the process of short-term and long-term decision making and evaluation that takes into consideration the whole farm – it is the short and long-term vision your family has for itself and the farm – it is why you want to be a farmer!
  4. Develop Your Farm Business Plan:  The components and worksheets in the Whole Farm Planning Module provide the guidance needed to develop your short and long-term farming goals that are the foundation of your farm business plan.   You can work with a professional to develop a farm business plan or develop one yourself. The Virginia Farm Link resources webpage provides information for completing your farm business plan. 
  5. Farm Resume:  The final step is showing your farm experience on a professional resume.  Consult the On-Farm Experience Module for methods of drafting a resume that highlights on-farm experience. 

Once you have completed the above requirements, submit them via e-mail to the Farm Link Administrator, who will confirm:

1) Demonstration of on-farm experience (as shown on your resume);

2) Completion of the Whole Farm Planning Module; and

3) Completion of a Farm Business Plan.

Once the Farm Link Administrator has reviewed the submitted material, you will be contacted. If you are not able to be certified, staff will instruct you on what is necessary to become certified and you can re-submit when ready.  The review time is typically 30 days.

Note: Virginia Farm Link cannot guarentee that any connections made between farm owners and farmer seekers (certified or not) will be successful.  All matches between parties are facilitated by the two parties - no additional matching assistance is provided by the Virginia Farm Link program.

Important Links

 

(must be signed in to view)

 

What are the benefits of becoming a Certified Farm Seeker?

CFS Benefits

Non-certified farm seeker

Certified Farm Seeker

Farm owner understands that the farm seeker is serious about farming and is either already farming or ready to begin farming?

?

YES

Farm seeker has a farm business plan ready to share with a farm owner?

?

YES

Farm seeker has on-farm experience?

?

YES

Shown on the interactive map like farm owners?

NO

YES

 

Who has successfully completed the CFS program?

Any Virginia Farm Link user on the interactive map with the red tractor logo is certified. In addition, a Certified Farm Seeker has the CFS logo prominently displayed on their individual profile page.

Active Certified Farm Seekers Map (must be signed in to view)

 

For more Information:

Please contact:

Mr. Andy Sorrell

Virginia Farm Link Program Manager, Virginia Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services

102 Governor Street, Richmond, VA 23219

Phone: 804-786-1906 E-mail:  farmlinkadmin@vdacs.virginia.gov

 

Additional Information for Farm Seekers

While the Certified Farm Seekers program only requires the completion of the whole farm planning module, four (4) other curriculum modules (business, land acquisition and tenure, marketing, and on-farm experience) developed by Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program (VBFRCP) are available for review and assistance.


   1. Whole Farm Planning Module (required module for the CFS program)

Introduction to Whole Farm Planning Overview & Assignments Worksheet1: Ideal Farm Enterprise Worksheet 2: Farming Success
Worksheet 3: Farm Goals Worksheet 4: Quality of Life Worksheet 5: Personal Resource Inventory & Goals
Worksheet 6: Financial Resources Worksheet 7: Production & Stewardship Worksheet 8: Marketing
Download the complete Whole Farm Planning Module Here

 


   2. Business Management Module (optional module for the CFS program)

Business Management Overview & Assignments Worksheet 9: Estimating Income and Expenses Worksheet 10: Assessing Worker Abilities and Needs
Worksheet 11: Likely Changes in Our Human Resources Situation Worksheet 12: Balance Sheet Worksheet 13: Risk Management
Worksheet 14: Regulations and Policies Worksheet 15: Describing Potential Crop Production Systems Worksheet 16: Describing Potential Livestock Production Systems
Worksheet 17: Resource Needs and Acquisitions Worksheet 18: Estimating Output and Capacity Worksheet 19: Operations Strategy Summary
Worksheet 20: Tasks and Workload Worksheet 21: Filling Workforce Needs Worksheet 22: Compensation
Worksheet 23: Human Resources Expense Worksheet 24: Management Strategy Worksheet 25: Human Resources Strategy Summary
Worksheet 26: Business Organization Worksheet 27: Farmland Affordability Worksheet 28: Finance
Worksheet 29: Financial Strategy Summary Worksheet 30: Annual Operating Expenses for the Whole Farm Worksheet 31: Long-Range Projected Income Statement
Worksheet 32: Long-Range Projected Cash Flow Worksheet 33: Projected Balance Sheet Worksheet 34: Risk-Analysis
Worksheet 35: Transitional Cash Flow    
Download the complete Business Management Module Here

 

 


   3. Land Acquisition and Tenure Module (optional module for the CFS program)

Land Acquisition and Tenure Module Overview & Assignments Planning for the Future of Your Farm Workbook

 

 

 


   4. Marketing Module (optional module for the CFS program)

Marketing Module Overview & Assignments Worksheet 36: Who am I Marketing to? Worksheet 37: My Individual Customer Profile
Worksheet 38: My Business Customer Profile Worksheet 39: Finding Market Trends Worksheet 40: Who is my Competition?
Worksheet 41: Price Strategy Worksheet 42: Price Considerations Worksheet 43: Further Pricing Assessment
Worksheet 44: Place Worksheet 45: Promotion  
Download the complete Marketing Module Here

   5. On-Farm Experience Module (optional module for the CFS program)

On-Farm Experience Module Overview Download the complete On-Farm Experience Module Here

 

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Mailing Address:
Virginia Farm Link Program
102 Governor Street Richmond, Virginia 23219
 
Phone: 804-786-1906