Meet Mariah Samano: A CCOF Foundation Future Organic Farmer

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Since 2014, the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund has partnered with the National FFA Organization to give grants to high school students who are interested in conducting organic Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects. In collaboration with an FFA advisor, these students design organic agricultural projects to conduct over the course of a year. Students are challenged to involve other students, mentors, and members of their community to ensure their project’s success. Visit our blog each week to read about these future organic farmers’ SAE projects in their own words.

Learn more about supporting the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund through a donation.


Mariah Samano

Littlerock High School Ag and Environmental Science Academy grows organic apples and peaches that we sell to our cafeteria to serve to the students at LHS, which inspired me to do my Supervised Agricultural Experience project. My SAE project will be to raise chickens and turkeys using only organic feeds and husbandry practices. I have raised market hogs and sheep, but I want to do something smaller and more sustainable. My adviser has informed me that raising organic poultry can be costlier than raising other crops, but I love to raise animals and I want to learn firsthand how to do so organically.

In order to raise these birds, I will redo our barn to accommodate poultry by building in nest boxes and putting up fencing. My advisor has an egg candler and an egg sizer that I plan to use for my business. I plan on getting heritage birds that are endangered or rare, and I will feed all my birds organic feeds and supplements. I will be using the birds for show birds, eggs, and breeding, and plan to use the non-breeders/producers for resale. I will gather data and record activities using the iRecordbook and compare these records with my classmates who raise their poultry using conventional feeds.

I plan to showcase my project at our local Project Competition and our Ag Expo event to show the community the differences between raising a meat animal organically vs. non-organic methods. If my project works out well, I plan to continue to raise organic poultry and eggs to sell to my chapter members and community.

Congratulations Mariah!

Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Farmer Grants.

The Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund is made possible by the generous support of CCOF, the UNFI Foundation, the CCOF Processor/Handler Chapter, the Clif Bar Family Foundation, Dr. Bronner’s, Driscoll’s, Duncan Family Farms, Forager Project, Frey Vineyards, Frontier Co-op, Green Ox Pallets, Independent Natural Food Retailers Association, National Co+op Grocers, Organic Valley, Lauren and Eric Schiermeyer, and SunRidge Farms. Thank you to these organizations for helping us inspire the next generation of organic farmers!


Today, less than 1% of America’s farmland is organic, and farmers who want to transition their land face a long and costly process. Hear from CCOF's CEO Kelly Damewood about what we're doing to address this challenge:

One percent