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The Farmer and Rancher Mentoring (FARM) program is the region's first on-farm internship opportunity for beginning farmers. Since 2017, ASD as worked with local farmer mentors to provide unmatched hands on education to interns pursing a career in agriculture production.

If you are a beginning farmer looking to gain hands on experience with a local farmer, take a look at the Mentor Bios and complete a registration form.

Interns who successfully complete the program will receive a $1,000 participation stipend.

What is Farmer and Rancher Mentoring?

200 Hours of Hands On Learning

Beginning farmer interns will work closely with their mentors on-farm for a minimum of 200 hours. Interns and Mentors will log their time and submit to the Producer Pathway Manager, Michael Klarman.

Submit Your Blogs from the FARM

FARM Interns are required to submit at least 2 blogs during their time on the farm. This is a great tool for tracking their progress as well as sharing their experience with others.

Create your own Roadmap for Learning

Mentors and Interns work together to develop individualized learning goals intended to inform lessons learned on the farm. These written goals serve as a road map to guide them through the growing season. Email the Producer Pathway Manager with questions.

2024 FARM Mentor Bios

Appalachian Cove Forest Farm + Homestead with Ryan Huish

The Appalachian Cove Forest Farm and Homestead is nestled in the foothills of Cove Mountain in far Southwest Virginia, near Natural Tunnel State Park. As ethnobotanists, we honor traditional approaches to manage the forests and other habitats for tending wild edible and medicinal plants. We also grow vegetables, grains, fruits, and herbs in no-till soils, and raise farm animals (dairy goats, steers, chickens, sheep, kunekune grazing pigs, and livestock guardian dogs). We practice various agroforestry principles including alley cropping, multifunction riparian zones, silvopasture, and forest farming.

Singing Wood + Faith in Action Garden with Lisa Worley

Singingwood is an agriculture learning space to get hands on experiences in various forms of agriculture. Produce is sold at the farmers market, online, and via ASD’s mobile market and interns can plan to learn about garden planning, building raised beds, propagation, season extension, getting to market, and growing your brand. This is a safe space to learn and grow. At the Singing Wood property, interns will learn as they go and any failures are learning opportunities. “Farming is sometimes a gamble and unpredictable, you may have to take chances, get outside your comfort zone but that is a part of spiraling upwards and growing.”

Reeds Valley Farm with David Wallace

Reeds Valley Farm focuses on rotationally grazed angus beef and medicinal herb production for ASD’s Herb Hub. Interns can expect to learn how to setup a carbon sequestering rotational grazing program, how the water conservation systems work with freeze proof waterers to be able to move cattle to different paddocks (2 farms) vs a conventional system with creeks on 1 farm. They may also go through hay production, herb planting, growing, weeding (or lack there of lol), automatic drip line water systems. We could harvest and possibly process the herbs at Appalachian Harvest and also at E.A.T. Campus on the farm.

TNT Farm N Greenhouse with Tamara McNaughton

Meadowview, VA

TNT includes a quarter acre field, one 30×100 high tunnel, and greenhouse/nursery plant production with a 30×80′ and a 14×80′ greenhouse. TNT sits on 80 acres including 60 in pasture and 20 wooded. I grow mostly heirloom varieties of diverse vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers while concentrating on a few main crops. The farm was certified organic from 2012-2020. It was fallow in 2021 while I worked an off farm medicinal plant job. Shifting away from certified production, I grew as a solo operation in 2022 & 2023 with some help from friends.

Tumbling Creek Cider Company Orchards + McMullen Urban Garden with Tom McMullen

Tom is a previous college science instructor and has been an organic gardening/self-sufficiency/orchard hobbyist for 25 years. Over the past 6 years he has started a business (Tumbling Creek Cider Company “TC3”) with 3 other partners/families. TC3’s hard cider production facility and orchards are located on Kelly Ridge Farms (KRF) in Meadowview VA.

One of hi primary tasks in the cider company is propagating and growing excellent cider apples. This includes scion-wood collecting, tree grafting, nursery establishment/planting/growing 1st year trees, planting 2-3 year-old trees, and orchard management of 3-6 year and 50 year-old trees.

If a mentee is interested in learning home organic gardening: The McMullen family owns a small property (only 0.62 acre) in downtown Abingdon. They grow organic produce (all 4 seasons) and have chickens for eggs and meat. The produce is for themselves, but they occasionally sell some at the farmers market and to friends.

Ragan Homestead
with Gina Ragan

The Ragan family has a homestead of about 2 acres on which they are trying to build infrastructure for self sufficiency. They do everything as organically and sustainably as possible: their goats, rabbits and chickens provide both food as well as fertilizer for their gardens of vegetables, fruits and herbs. They grow herbs which are used for handmade salves, tinctures and other healing products and for culinary use as well. They currently raise goats, rabbits and chickens and well as golden retrievers. In the past, they have had milk cows, pigs and turkeys.

Contact the Program Manager

Michael Klarman, Producer Pathway Manager

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