Start Your Own Farming Business with this Opportunity

Start Your Own Farm Business

Are you a beginning farmer looking to start your own farming business but are hesitant about the risk of making major land and equipment purchases before you have developed your market?  Through a new program at Michigan State University, you may be able to take advantage of an opportunity that reduces the barriers of access such as land acquisition, business management experience, and market development, while having access to technical advising and an open and growing market.

The North Farm at the Michigan State University Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center is now accepting applications for three new “Apprentice” farmers to participate in its farm incubator program.  The North Farm specializes in diversified organic vegetable production and season extension in northern climates. The century old farm is located in Chatham, MI in the central UP, and close to markets in Marquette, Munising and beyond. There is a growing demand for fresh produce in the Upper Peninsula, and the North Farm will assist Apprentice Farmers in developing their markets. This program is open to individual farmers, as well as farming couples/partnerships.

Three apprentice farmers will be selected to begin the two-year program in the spring of 2016. While technical assistance is available, the apprenticeship is not a training program. This opportunity is ideal for a farmer who has a significant amount of farming experience and is ready to take the next steps towards launching their own farm business in a northern climate.  Spots are limited, so apply early.

Apprentice Farmers Will Receive:

  • Access to organically managed land – 1/4 acre plot for the first year, 1/2 acre for the second year.
  • Access to shared infrastructure – storage space, walk-in cooler, root cellar, hoophouse space, washing/packing shed
  • Access to equipment and tools
  • Mentorship from the North Farm staff and other stakeholders
  • Opportunities to network with other area growers and food enthusiasts
  • Opportunities to participate in competency-based workshops and trainings
  • Optional housing at the North Farm
  • Assistance in developing a transition plan off the North Farm after the two-year program

Cost of Participation

  • $700 per growing season for land and resources.
  • Optional on-farm housing provided at $175 per month.
  • Optional custom tractor work as needed is also available for a small fee.

For more information, please visit http://www.msunorthfarm.org/apprentice-farmer-program.html or contact Donny Comer at comerdon@msu.edu

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