In spring 2011, the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition designed and implemented an online survey to identfy Virginia beginning farmer and rancher demographic characteristcs, program area needs, and program delivery preferences. The survey was developed by drawing upon community‐based participatory research principles where the Coalition directly participated in the survey design and implementaion. Survey results guided the development of the Virginia Whole Farm Planning Curriculum.
Over 200 farmer and servicer provider participants completed the instrument. Respondents prioritized one‐day workshops, farmer‐mentoring and online learning opportuniries as primary delivery methods. Respondents also indicated priority programming areas, for example: financial risk management for small farms; gaining access to affordable financing; insurance issues and regulations.