Skip to content
Small Farm and Rural Development Program
a man holding a laptop and smiling at the camera

Small Farm and Rural Development

Tuskegee University’s Alabama Small Farm Rural Economic Development Center has numerous collaborative arrangements with various partners. They include USDA agencies (Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, and Farm Agricultural Services and Rural Development in particular), the State of Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Resource Conservation and Development Councils (Tombigbee, Ala-Tom Area, and Gulf Coast), the Alabama Exchange Bank, Marion Bank & Trust Company, and West Alabama Bank & Trust), community and group organizations (Federation of Southern Cooperatives, the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission, Vredenburgh Community, and Friends of the Historic Trail) and private entrepreneurs/farmers (Hall’s Farm, Down South Foods, Dee C. Madison, Joe E. Bell, etc.), and 1862 county Extension programs (Barbour/Macon).

With the current Outreach Coordinators at NRCS and FSA/Alabama, Tuskegee University has led and participated in the development of statewide working groups and outreach strategies that have been successful in reaching underserved small farms and communities. As a result of these collaborations, Tuskegee University has been able to deal comprehensively with small farm issues, community development, markets for new enterprises, and mini-grant opportunities.

Tuskegee’s Small Farm Center has targeted rural community development efforts including: farm-related value-added, wholesale/retail, community-based mini-grant projects, tourism, and rural infrastructure. A mini-grants program has used technical assistance, partnerships and collaborative arrangements to award more than 60 $5,000 to $10,000 grants. The awardees use this to strengthen the organizational capacity of farm and other rural community organizations, in addition to adding value to farm and other products.

Additional Information

  • Robert Zabawa
  • Miles Robinson
  • Gwen Harris
  • USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement
  • Center for Farming Systems Rural Prosperity and Economic Sustainability

Tuskegee University is a top ranked HBCU!

Shayla White et al. standing around a table

Sustaining Small Farms Ranches, and Forest Landowners Using The Cluster Approach

Farming in clusters is an economically viable practice to sustain small, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged farmers and forestland owners with their agricultural operations. The objectives of the study were to strengthen the capacity of clientele on cluster farming and to lower production and marketing costs by sharing input costs. Clusters were created and interventions were provided by project partners through several activities, including workshops, meetings, field days, loans, and materials/equipment. The results showed that 29 clusters involving 224 farmers, and 14 cooperatives involving 410 farmers were formed and strengthened. The number of farmers participating in workshops, training programs, field days, and meetings were, respectively, 4,921, 3,095, 1,426, and 1,285. The results also revealed that 190 producers received access to farm loans, mobile and stationary cold storage facilities, and marketing materials. Additionally, 930 farmers strengthened their knowledge and skills, and changed their behavior due to the implementation of the cluster farming approach.

Shayla White et al. standing around a table

Additional Information

Back To Top