SPECIAL FROM THE MICHIGAN LAND USE INSTITUTE
Soon after Katie Brandt graduated from the University of Michigan, in 2001, she landed her dream jobâ€”working as a hired farmhand. Even though she earned a minimal wage, Ms. Brandt learned so much she realized that she was indeed born to be a farmer.
Too often that’s where the story stops for so many young people who want to farm. But Ms. Brandt is now working for herself on her own farm in Zeeland. She overcame one of the biggest obstacles to new farmersâ€”financing the land and the farm operationâ€”thanks in part to an innovative combination of local leadership and a federal business development program traditionally applied to inner city needs.
Known as an Individual Development Account, the program uses funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration to match money that an entrepreneur saves toward needed business investments. Ms. Brandt participated in an IDA program through the non-profit Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women organization…
Continue reading Young Farmers Defy Ownership Odds: Michigan short on innovative assistance by the MLUI’s Julie Hay.