MyFaRM initiative offers free risk management education for local farmers | University of Maryland Eastern Shore Marketing Retarget Pixel

MyFaRM initiative offers free risk management education for local farmers

  • MyFaRM initiativeRegistration opens in September

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD- (August 12, 2020)- A new initiative, MyFaRM (Mastering Farm Risk Management), will provide risk management education free to farmers who are underserved by crop insurance.  Educators at University of Maryland Eastern Shore Extension secured a nearly $100,000 Northeast Extension Risk Management Education Center grant for the 18-month project.

    “MyFaRM is a series of classes covering personal risk management plans in the areas of production, marketing, finances, human resources and legal risk,” said Nicole Cook, an environmental and agricultural faculty legal specialist at UMES and co-principal investigator for the grant.  “The emphasis is on using Federal Crop Insurance and private insurance options to sustain and support the growth of small farming operations, particularly those who grow-or plan to grow, specialty crops.”

    The classes will kick off with an introductory class at UMES Extension’s 2020 Small Farm Conference November 6 and 7, said Berran Rogers, the coordinator of UMES’ Small Farm Program, chair of the annual conference and co-PI on the grant.  A core group of farmers who commit to attending all of the classes will receive a scholarship to attend all aspects of the conference and will come away with a five-year risk management plan that they developed for their farms. 

    Farmers can attend any of the series of risk classes most pertinent to their farming operation, Rogers said.  The last class of the marketing risk series next summer will coincide with the 2021 Small Farm Marketing Bus Tour. In addition, those who complete the series of courses will be provided scholarships to attend demonstration courses and field days offered by the UMES Extension Small Farm Program throughout the summer and fall of 2021, including learning about harvesting and processing specialty crops for markets.  Core-farmer graduates of the program can also attend the 2021 Small Farm Conference free of charge.

    MyFaRM instructors include experienced educators from the Agriculture Law Education Initiative, UMES Extension, University of Maryland Extension, Virginia State University, the Maryland Agricultural & Resource-Based Industry Corporation, MidAtlantic Farm Credit and other industry experts, Cook said.   Farmers with experience in diversifying their farms and developing niche markets for their products will also be presenters.

    “The grant team is also working with an international video production company, The Carlin Company, to create a 10-part series of online, self-guided educational webinars that will be free on UMES Extension’s Small Farm Program and ALEI websites.

    Applications for core farmers will be open in September along with registration for the topic classes.  Participants in the core-farmer group must commit to attend a minimum of eight of the classes and the introductory class and all of the classes on financial risk.

    For more information, contact Cook at or by calling 410-651-6182, or contact the project’s coordinator, Sharon Ward, at

    The MyFaRM (Mastering Farm Risk Management) project is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture under award number 2018-70027-28588.


    Gail Stephens, agricultural communications and media associate, School of Agricultural & Natural Sciences, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 410-621-3850,