Surik Mehrabyan, a physicist from Armenia, spades soil to make a raised bed for growing potatoes on his quarter-acre plot at the Groundswell Center incubator farm in Ithaca, N.Y., on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. The farm is one of dozens that are springing up around the country to give a head-start to career-changers and others who want to get into farming. (AP Photo/Mary Esch)The Associated Press
In this Wednesday, July 23, 2014 photo, Ye Myint, a sushi chef, pulls weeds around a gongura plant, a popular cooking green in his native Myanmar, at the Groundswell Center incubator farm in Ithaca, N.Y. The incubator farm provides low-cost space and mentoring to immigrants, career-changers and others who want to begin agricultural enterprises. (AP Photo/Mary Esch)The Associated Press
In this Wednesday, July 23, 2014 photo, Joanna Green, director of the Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming, hoes weeds in the new greenhouse at the center's incubator farm in Ithaca, N.Y. The incubator farm is one of dozens springing up around the country to help would-be farmers learn the trade and develop a market before they invest in their own land and equipment. (AP Photo/Mary Esch)The Associated Press
ITHACA, N.Y. – Dozens of incubator farms are springing up around the country to nurture the next generation of agricultural entrepreneurs.
The goal is to help farmers get started by using the incubator model that has been successful in launching new businesses. Farmers get a quarter-acre of land, shared equipment, mentoring on business planning and marketing, and the opportunity to build a track record that will help them qualify for start-up loans for their own farms.
The 10-acre farm of the Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming in Ithaca is in its second year as an incubator farm. It has three farmers this summer.
Jennifer Hashley of the National Farm Incubator Training Initiative at Tufts University says would-be farmers are able to gain experience and develop markets without high startup costs.