Innovative Beginning Farmer Program

Innovative Beginning Farmer Program in the News

Application Deadlines for Farm Beginnings Coming Up Soon

The Farm Beginnings program is a partnership between the Land Stewardship Project and the Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association; it is making a course available in Esko, Minnesota this fall, the fifth year the class has been offered in the Lake Superior area. But even folk for whom geographic constraints will make it impossible to attend might want to take stock of what this innovative program has to offer. The program got some press recently; portions of the article are excerpted below. Excerpt:… a key component of Farm Beginnings is to teach students how to not only develop a business plan and market their products, but how to balance growth of a new operation with the financial, physical and technical resources available to the farmer, according to Cree Bradley, coordinator of the course in the Lake Superior region. In 2013, the Farm Beginnings program is marking its 16th year of providing firsthand training in low-cost, sustainable methods of farming. The course is tailor-made for people of all ages just getting started in farming, as well as established farmers looking to make changes in their operations, according to Bradley. Farm Beginnings participants learn goal setting, financial planning, enterprise planning, marketing and innovative production techniques.

Classes are led by farmers and other agricultural professionals from the area and Farm Beginnings graduates are involved in a wide-range of agricultural enterprises, including grass-based livestock, crops and Community Supported Agriculture. Started in Minnesota, the Farm Beginnings model of farmer-to-farmer, community-based education has been replicated in several states and serves as a model for the USDA’s national Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. “A big issue for beginning farmers is the idea of dealing with demand,” said Bradley, who operates a Community Supported Agriculture produce operation near Two Harbors and is a Lake Superior Farm Beginnings graduate herself. “We talk in Farm Beginnings about building slow. We talk about a strategic business plan.” The 2013-14 Lake Superior Farm Beginnings class application deadline is Oct. 25. For more information and to apply, see or contact Cree Bradley at 218-834-0846 or creeb@landstewardshipproject.org. See more here.

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