Helping Farmers

Jerry CosgroveStarting out in the farming industry can be scary. There is so much to understand and learn in a short amount of time. Not to mention, expensive equipment has to be purchased or borrowed. Jerry Cosgrove knows that feeling all too well. Besides growing up on a farm, he has worked with new farmers for years. Most of Cosgrove’s career – past and present – has focused on helping new farmers.

Cosgrove normally turns to the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) when assisting new farmers. A NYFC study shows farmers undergo tremendous hardships when they first start out in the industry. More than 1,000 people – 81 percent farmers – from 34 states responded to the survey. Most of the farmers were first generation, between ages 25-29, with 1-5 years of experience.

The findings determined the most valuable programs for new farmers were:

  • Apprenticeships – 74 percent
  • Local Partnerships – 55 percent
  • Community Supported Agriculture – 47 percent
  • Land-linking Programs – 47 percent
  • Non-profit Training/Education – 44 percent
  • College/University Education/Training – 30 percent

Consultant Jerry Cosgrove knows some methods are not working either. The survey determined the biggest obstacles for new farmers are:

  • Lack of Capital – 78 percent
  • Land Access – 68 percent
  • Health Care – 47 percent
  • Credit Access – 40 percent
  • Marketing/Business Planning Skills – 36 percent
  • Profitable Markets – 30 percent
  • Training/Education – 26 percent

Jerry Cosgrove Gives Back to Community Through Volunteerism

Besides NYFC, Cosgrove is familiar with The Greenhorns, based inHudsonValley. The volunteer organization is run by young farmers, filmmakers and activists. Members produce a radio show each week, keep up a blog and just finished “The Greenhorns” documentary. Plus, members speak at events, organize panels and partner with the USDA to serve beginning farmers.

In today’s society, preserving farms is more important than ever. The average farmer is 57, butAmericaloses 2 acres of farmland each minute. The Greenhorns are made up of more than 3,000 members, wanting to keep farming alive in theUnited States.

Jerry Cosgrove has noticed the NYFC and Greenhorns gaining more popularity. Expert Jerry Cosgrove sees their names repeatedly in major media outlets, like NPR or The New York Times. Farmers, young or old, should get involved in NYFC, Greenhorns or any other local groups. As an agricultural specialist, Jerry Cosgrove has seen the benefits from participating in local farming organizations.

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