New Website. New Farmers.

USDA New Farmers homepage screen shot

USDA has been looking for ways to improve content delivery to our customers and making their first interaction with USDA and government a positive one. In 2014, USDA launched New Farmers, a website dedicated to helping new and beginning farmers and ranchers find the resources they need to start farming. But even back then, we knew we could do better.

Our reimagined New Farmers website features advice and guidance on everything a new farm business owner will need to know, from writing a business plan, to obtaining a loan to grow their business, to filing taxes as a new small business owner, to obtaining affordable healthcare for themselves and their employees. The site was designed based on feedback from new and beginning farmers and ranchers around the country, who cited unfamiliarity with programs and resources as a challenge to starting and expanding their operations. We’ve even built a new “Discovery Tool”, where answering a series of questions about their operation, allows farmers to build a personalized set of recommendations of USDA programs and services that may meet their needs.

New Farmers is a culmination of efforts on both the information and technology fronts. The site utilizes USDA’s soon-to-be-released Drupal Enterprise Framework (a platform we’re hoping every USDA website will end up on in the future) which allows for better content management, flexibility, and a truly responsive design that works on any computer or mobile device you’re on. Through some luck and good timing, we were able to incorporate Web industry standards from the very-recently released federal U.S. Web Design Standards. From visual style, grids and buttons, to form controls and navigation, our new site may serve as a blueprint for other things to come.

The big news this week was a new commitment from USDA to prioritize $5.6 billion over the next two years with the goal of increasing beginning farmer and rancher participation by 6.6%. We think this website is a big step in supporting that effort and also a leap forward in how we deliver information online to our customers.

Help us get the word out by using #newfarmers and pointing to usda.gov/newfarmers.

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