Farm Beginnings Frequently Asked Questions

• What are the dates for this year's course? Visit the Farm Beginnings course page for class dates.

• Who should participate in Farm Beginnings? People considering: full-time farming, farming part-time while continuing other employment, changing careers to start farming, developing an existing agricultural hobby into a more serious business activity, or re-evaluating an existing farm business.

• Am I ready for Farm Beginnings? To figure out if the class is a good match for you at this time, talk to a Farm Beginnings facilitator and/or complete this personal assessment.

• Are scholarships available and how do I apply for them? A limited number of partial scholarships are available. Find a scholarship application here and submit the application along with your Farm Beginnings application.

• How much is the deposit? A $200 non-refundable check must be submitted with each application to hold a place in the class.

• Do I have to pay all at once? No, we have several payment plans available.

• Do you have to be interested in organic agriculture to take the course? No. The Farm Beginnings class is a resource for a wide range of farmers. While many of the farmer-educators employ grass-based. organic and other stewardship practices, we know that each farmer needs to make the right management decisions for their land and quality of life. . We focus on helping participants make the right choices for attaining their goals.

• Do you have to be a beginning farmer to take the course? No. This class has been just as useful to established farmers as it has been to aspiring farmers. The decision-making process and planning tools we share are useful regardless of your level of farming experience.

• Do you need to own land to take the class? No. Participants of Farm Beginnings vary greatly in their access to land.

• What are the components of the class? Farm Beginnings classes begin in the fall of each year and meet throughout the winter. Class participants learn goal setting, financial planning, whole farm planning, alternative marketing and low-cost sustainable farming techniques. Established farmers and other professionals such as lenders and agricultural business instructors present at the seminars, providing community resources, networks and contacts for those interested in farming. At the conclusion of classes, participants take part in a series of on-farm field days and farm tours during the spring and summer. Participants tour a variety of farms in addition to having access to an extensive farmer network.