CULTIVATING AND MENTORING YOUTH AS FUTURE FARMERS
"The world needs young people proactively contributing to innovative and environmentally and economically sustainable agricultural development," states YPARD, an international movement by Young Professionals for Young Professionals for Agricultural and Rural Development. YPARD notes that for humanity to adapt to the impacts of climate change, rapid urbanization, and unpredictable weather events on agriculture and the environment, we need to empower and nurture the next generation of farmers and entrepreneurs. YPARD is a global networking platform for Young Professionals to create a movement for the youth in agricultural development.
The origin of USDA's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) in the United States is easily traced to the greying American farmer. Reasons for the declining and greying farm population in the United States are many and varied. For new and minority farmers, the path to a thriving farming career is fraught with even more significant challenges. Struggles include financing land, lack of educational/technical assistance opportunities, and confronting historical racial inequities. The Institute believes mentoring is a missing link in the agricultural sector, especially for underserved minority youth and audiences. This lack of guidance is why the Institute strives to offer mentoring, outreach training, and technical assistance opportunities to minority and underserved individuals across metro and non-metro areas.
PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
OUTREACH TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
A vital goal of the Institute is to disseminate information. The Insitute wants to deliver effective outreach to underprivileged such as minorities and retired or disabled veterans by conducting technical assistance and encouraging and assisting with owning/operating farms and ranches. These skills are delivered in numerous ways, such as:
Farm field days
On-farm demonstrations and other experiential learning activities
Farmer-to-farmer training and mentoring
Fact sheets/Newsletters and other media outlets.
As projects are implemented, our goal is to increase awareness of overall profitability by minority-owned and rural businesses and award loans for farm ownership, farm operation, equipment, housing, and youth-operated businesses.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING STRATEGY CONSULTING
Every business needs a plan, a strategy that defines the vision, goals, and how these goals will be reached. Whether a new startup or an existing business, a simple business strategy can take a business to the next level. A business strategy does not have to be complicated. Some business plans can fit on two or three pages. The Institute advises aspiring or existing business owners not to let business planning and strategy fall by the wayside. Don't plan to fail or fail to prepare for your business. Instead, we encourage business owners or rural entrepreneurs to plan today and reap the benefits tomorrow and for years to come. In short, call us at the Institute for Assistance to
Clarify the business vision, goals, and mission statement
Explore the suitable business model for the business
Craft long-term and short-term goals
Business startups and feasibility studies
Develop a business plan and financial statements
Set revenue and expense model (recordkeeping systems)
Scope out the competition (marketing plan)
Brainstorm on new products and services (business expansion and scaling).
As outlined in this brochure, the Institute offers a variety of business consulting services, including, but not limited to, developing and using a business plan, developing and interpreting financial statements, writing grant proposals, writing loan applications, and undertaking feasibility studies.
If you have business problems, the Institute has business solutions for you!
STUDENT TUTORING PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
The Institute's tutorial services are provided year-round through educational assistance. The Institute will assist with homework and skill-building opportunities in economics, agribusiness, mathematics, and science. The Insitute hopes to promote life skills development and career exploration to encourage students to begin thinking about what career path would best suit their interests and abilities. Students, inner-city youth, or agricultural audiences benefit from hands-on or experiential learning activities, team-building exercises, and role-plays to promote positive interactions and learning skills to aid in building self-esteem and networking abilities.
Services are provided by a team of highly qualified and motivated individuals who have excelled in their areas of expertise and are trained to help students and support small businesses succeed. Volunteers, educators, tutors, mentors, and business consultants will not do a student's homework nor run a client's business for them. However, they will show them how to be their own best resource.
The Institute houses the capability and capacity to deliver STEM instruction and activities to expose students (secondary and postsecondary) to a wide array of careers that utilize STEM subject matters. With growing workforce sectors in STEM-related fields, organizations such as the Rural South Institute are focused on increasing STEM-related skills and content. It is a fact that student academic performance in science and math lags behind the pace of growing sectors in STEM. This is especially true for students of color in underserved and economically depressed communities.
BUSINESS AND STUDENT MENTORING SERVICES
Mentoring is a developmental partnership through which one person shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective to foster the personal, academic and professional growth of someone else. We all have a need for insight that is outside of our normal life and educational experience. The power of mentoring is that it creates a one-of-a-kind opportunity for collaboration, goal achievement and problem-solving.
A mentor facilitates personal, academic and professional growth in an individual by sharing the knowledge and insights that have been learned through the years. A mentor is a Teacher -- shares knowledge and experience; a Problem Solver -- refers Protégés to resources and offer options; a Motivator – when a Protégé is facing challenges, for example, and this is usually done through encouragement, support, and incentives; a Coach -- helps Protégés to overcome performance difficulties through positive feedback (reinforce behavior) and constructive feedback (change behavior); and a Guide -- helps Protégés set realistic goals that are said to be SMART [Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound]. “If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t know how to get there.”
The Institute’s mentoring services are designed to provide year-round mentoring and learning opportunities for all participants (students, inner-city youth, farmers and rural entrepreneurs) to encourage and build trusting relationships. The Institute’s mission for mentoring and tutoring services is to help secondary and post-secondary students appreciate the beauty of clear writing and effective communication, and the power of serious and challenging mathematics, statistics and economic reasoning. We strive to make the student who never cared about math, statistics, agribusiness and economics love the subject and for those who have always loved math statistics or economics to love the subject even more. An important aspect of the Institute’s mentoring program is to introduce youth and rural residents to agriculture as a viable life-long career. Overall, mentoring activities help bring underserved youth, students, farmers and entrepreneurs together with caring individuals who provide academic and non-academic guidance, life-learning support, and encouragement aimed at developing participant's competence in order to succeed in school, farming or small business development.
The Institute provides mentoring services in three key areas of (1) Writing Assistance involving free and low-cost one-on-one consulting on a wide variety of academic and creative writing projects. The Institute assists students at every stage of the writing process from project planning and brainstorming to identifying key concepts, drafting, writing from research, revising, documenting and citing sources, and editing strategies; (2) Mathematics and Statistics Tutoring and Mentoring Assistance for secondary and post-secondary students who have questions related to statistics or pre-calculus courses; and (3) Economics, Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Tutoring Assistance, offering tutoring and mentoring assistance for secondary and post-secondary students in any area of agribusiness and economics (macro and microeconomics).