Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program


Farmers in business for less than 10 years are eligible for scholarships for farm business development training over the next three years, coordinated by Viva Farms.   With its project partners, Viva Farms received a $599,999 grant for a new project, “Beginning Farmer Development Program (BFDP) Skagit County.”  The program includes a series of regional workshops in sustainable organic crop farming, marketing, obtaining capital, business plan development, and Pastured Poultry, and access to land, infrastructure, equipment, and on-farm business incubation.

Project partners

• Viva Farms’ land-based training which includes: on-farm business incubation and an on-site Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAgE) Student Farm.
• Skagit Valley Colleges’ Sustainable Ag Education Student Farm (SAgE) curriculum, in partnership with the SAgE Collaborative, a regional network of community colleges.
• Northwest Agriculture Business Centers pastured poultry business training.
• Economic Development Alliance of Skagit Countys business and financial training.
• Skagitonians to Preserve Farmlands mapping project aimed at increasing knowledge & awareness of available farmland for lease or sale in Skagit County.
• WSU Skagit County Extension’s Cultivating Success and Poultry Production Training; translation & interpretation services for many of these partner programs.
• Mount Vernon High School’s Future Farmers of America program
• Washington State Department of Agriculture
• Skagit Land Trust

Some of the other activities under development:
• Farmer to Farmer Mentorship Program
• BFRDP Program open house
• A Farm to School Program

For more information on the program and educational offerings, please contact Viva Farms:    360-969-7191 

For additional business development classes or support, or for poultry-specific classes, please contact NABC:

Sera Hartman 360-336-3727 or see NABC Classes & Workshops
Para asistencia en español : Alex Perez 360-770-4072

This program is funded in part by a grant from USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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Cooperative Project List

Cooperative Development Training and Outreach
NABC provides cooperative training and outreach to inform and engage agricultural producers and the community-at-large about the importance and value of the cooperative business model. Click on 25Oct2014FoodHubConference for an informational sample of a past conference.

North Cascades Meat Producers Cooperative
The Farmer owned and managed farmer’s cooperative known as North Cascade Meat Producers Cooperative has begun work to establish a new USDA meat processing capacity, in partnership with Del Fox Meats in Stanwood, for Island, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom Counties.

Puget Sound Food Hub
The Puget Sound Food Hub is a network of farms and partners operating cooperatively in the Puget Sound region to market, aggregate and distribute locally produced food from farm to restaurants, hospitals, preschools, grocery stores, universities and more.

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market Cooperative
We are a farmer-owned cooperative established in 2011 and committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, greens and ornamentals from sixteen Washington, Oregon and Alaska flower farms. Our Mission: To foster a Vibrant Community Marketplace that sustains Local Flower Farms and provides Top Quality Products and Service to the Floral Industry of the Pacific Northwest.

Island Grown Farmers Cooperative
We bring you quality, affordable meat from livestock raised on small family farms located on the islands in Puget Sound and the nearby mainland river valleys of northwest Washington State. We are dedicated to passing on the benefits of meat produced locally from humanely raised and processed livestock to our neighbors in this region.

NABC Mobile Poultry Processing Unit
NABC is working with producers to develop a cooperative pastured poultry program.  As part of this effort NABC has built and put into operation a fully staffed, WSDA-certified Mobile Poultry Processing Unit or “MPPU,” thanks to funding from the Whatcom Community Foundation’s Sustainable Whatcom Fund.  To be eligible to use this unit, producers need to have a WSDA Food Processors License, and meet all site requirements.

Northwest Asian Medicinal Herb Network
The Northwest Asian Medicinal Herb Network is a group of growers and practitioners working together to support sustainable domestic production of high-quality Asian medicinal herbs;  o encourage economic development through education, marketing, and access to evaluation, processing and distribution; and to preserve knowledge of traditional methods of herbal cultivation and preparation.

Northwest Cider Association
Formed in 2010, the Northwest Cider Association brings cideries and cider lovers together to share knowledge, experience and live the Northwest cider culture.  NWCA is a trade organization formed by cider producers throughout the Pacific Northwest to promote awareness of regional artisanal ciders. We sponsor classes and workshops, and created new cider-themed events, including Oregon Cider Week, Summer Cider Day, Washington Cider Week, and an annual cidermakers’ dinner.

Port Susan Food & Farming Center
The Port Susan Farmers Market is located in Stanwood, a charming small-town with friendly people, unique shops and homey restaurants, situated on one of Washington’s most treasured natural resources, Port Susan Bay. The market features vendors selling local farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, poultry, eggs, honey, baked goods and specialty foods such as hand-crafted BBQ sauces, spice rubs, gourmet pasta and homemade jams.

Red Rooster Marketing Association
The Red Rooster Route is a marketing association of 12 Arlington farms and agricultural activities formed to introduce families to heritage opportunities in north Snohomish County. Follow our Red Rooster Route to family-friendly farms and festivals and start your traditions in Arlington, Bryant and Oso, Washington.

San Juan Agricultural Guild-Island Grown
Island Grown in the San Juans celebrates the bounty of abundant farms and locally-grown food in our beautiful archipelago within the Salish Sea. Island Grown in the San Juans is a membership organization that is committed to upholding high standards for quality farm products that are good for our community, our lands, our local economy, and promotes a sustainable future.

Whidbey Island Grown
The Whidbey Island Grown brand was established by local farmers and residents to increase awareness and consumption of agricultural products grown on the Island. Agricultural areas are an important part of what makes Whidbey Island such a special place to visit and live. To preserve these areas the Island needs an economically vibrant farm community. Please join us in this effort to promote locally grown products and help preserve the rural character of the Island.

Cooperative Development Resources

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About Cooperatives

Definition of a cooperative: 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines a cooperative as a user-owned, user-controlled business that distributes benefits on the basis of use. Member users, or patrons, own and democratically elect the board of directors, which provides oversight of the co-op. Net earnings are distributed on the basis of proportional use, or patronage, rather than on investment.

A broader definition of a cooperative has been developed by the International Alliance of Cooperatives (ICA), which describes a co-op as “an autonomous, voluntary association meeting common economic, social, and cultural needs through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise."

 International Co-operative Alliance (ICA): 7 Cooperative Principles

1. Voluntary and Open Membership
2. Democratic Member Control
3. Member Economic Participation
4. Autonomy and Independence
5. Education, Training and Information
6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
7. Concern for Community

( A sampling of NABC’s 7-county service area)

Agricultural Cooperatives:

Island Grown Farmers Cooperative
Northwest Berry Co-op
Organic Valley
Puget Sound Meat Producers Cooperative
Seattle Wholesale Growers Market Cooperative
Skagit Farmers Supply
Snohomish Farmers Co-op
Whatcom Farmers Co-op

Financial Services:

Northwest Farm Credit Services

Retail Cooperatives:

Community Food Co-op
Central Food Co-op
Orcas Food Co-op
PCC Natural Markets
Skagit Valley Food Co-op
Sno Isle Food Co-op

Wholesale or Purchasing Cooperatives:

Ace Hardware
Puget Sound Joint Purchasing Cooperative
Unified Grocers
True Value Hardware (TruServ)
Washington Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Health Care and Home Care:

Circle of Life, A Caregiver Cooperative
Group Health Cooperative

"Agricultural cooperatives are a driving force in the nation’s thriving farm economy. Because they are farmer-owned and operated businesses, the sales dollars and income generated are much more likely to be returned and spent in rural areas and communities."  Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, October 23, 2013

Contact Us

Northwest Agriculture Business Center
419 South 1st Street, Suite 200
P.O. Box 2924
Mount Vernon, WA 98273-2924

Tel: (360) 336-3727
Fax: (360) 336-3751
Toll free: (888) 707-2021
TTY/ TRS users: dial 711

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