Missouri Beginning Farmers program starts monthly webinar series

Source: Mary Hendrickson, 573-882-7463 A series of free webinars through the University of Missouri Extension Beginning Farmers program will offer helpful advice and answers to new and expanding farmers. The series begins Feb. 21, 7-8:30 p.m., with a free webinar, "The Top 10 Things You Need to Think about When Getting Started in Farming," presented by Chris Blanchard. "It's a really good opportunity for would-be farmers to learn from someone who's been in the business for awhile," said Mary Hendrickson, associate director of MU's Community Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture Program. "A lot of beginning farmers may be working other jobs while trying to get into farming or exploring other options, so offering these opportunities as webinars help us reach the most people."

Hendrickson said Blanchard is the perfect person to kick off the effort. He spoke this winter at the 2011 Great Plains Growers Conference in St. Joseph on "Values and Scales in the Local Foods Market Place." Blanchard owns and operates Rock Spring Farm, a 12-acre organic farm near of Decorah, Iowa, where he sells a wide variety of vegetables and herbs through a 200-member community-supported agriculture model, food stores and a farmers market. He also coordinates presentations for the Upper Midwest Organic Conference. Hendrickson said the online offering not only caters to the type of people drawn to beginning farming, but also allows experts from far away to be part of the ongoing series. "We're excited because we can get really great presenters who wouldn't be able to travel to a conference to present," Hendrickson said. "This will give us top-notch speakers and help our audience." To learn more about how to watch the webinar and browse other Beginning Farmer resources, see www.missouribeginningfarmers.org. Read more about Blanchard and his farm at www.rsfarm.com.

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