Redesign to online database connecting Virginia farm owners with qualified farm seekers
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recently redesigned the Virginia Farm Link website and database at www.vafarmlink.org to include additional features to better facilitate connections between farm owners and those interested in farming.
The Virginia Farm Link database was released online in 2008. After reviewing feedback from users, VDACS determined that a certification process was needed to help farm seekers better demonstrate their qualifications and commitment to farm owners. The agency partnered with the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition to create the Certified Farm Seekers program.
Farm seekers who have completed the CFS program will be the only farm seekers highlighted on the new site’s interactive map, which shows the location of farm owners and certified farm seekers. The site also provides registered users with access to individual member profiles that better highlight a user’s farm or, in the case of a Certified Farm Seeker, his farming experience and farm business plan.
Farm seekers interested in becoming certified should download and complete the CFS application at www.vafarmlink.org and send to the Certified Farm Seeker coordinator, Katie Myer, at email@example.com.
Once certified, in addition to being highlighted on the Virginia Farm Link interactive map, Certified Farm Seekers have access to one-on-one matching assistance from VDACS and can apply for a one-time cost share of up to 75 percent of reimbursable costs associated with their farm operations (up to $500).
“As a Certified Farm Seeker myself, it is nice to see that the Virginia Farm Link database is working to highlight the attributes of farm seekers who understand and have the necessary skills to farm,” said Myer, who is also a farmer in Westmoreland County on the Northern Neck.
There is no cost to Virginia Farm Link program users. Program costs are covered, in part, by funding from the Virginia Agriculture license plate.