Plan the Next Steps in Scaling Up Your Farm
Through LSP’s Journeyperson Farm Training Course
• Financial Planning Assistance
• Whole Farm Planning
• Balancing Farm, Family & Personal Needs
• Educational Opportunities
• Peer-to-Peer Learning
• Matched Savings Accounts
To help you improve your farming situation, LSP offers the following support:
- Mentorship - Farmer. As an LSP Journeyperson you will choose or be aided in choosing a farmer mentor, through our partnership with the MOSES Mentoring Program. Mentor-Journeyperson arrangements are diverse and vary from one relationship to another, and are up to the participants to negotiate and maintain on a case-by-case basis. In addition to mentorship, MOSES provides two years of the Organic Farming Conference and one year of Organic University – both valuable resources attended by thousands of farmers each year. There is a separate fee to MOSES for this portion of the course.
- Financial Advisor. As an LSP Journeyperson you will choose or be aided in choosing a financial advisor, through our partnership with Farm Business Management of the MN and WI Community College systems. Financial advisors will help with setting up a basic record-keeping system and initial financial plan, do a check in visit mid-season and an end-of-season visit to assess your financial situation. There is a separate fee to FBM for this portion of the course.
- Farmer Peer. Each Journeyperson will be connected with a farming peer and follow a monthly check-in schedule around assignments designated by LSP staff.
- Individualized Planning Retreats. As an LSP Journeyperson you will be enrolled in two planning retreats. A two-day winter retreat and a one-day seasonal wrap-up will be coordinated by LSP staff to help focus participants plans and provide a supportive environment to interact and learn from other peers within the course. There are separate fees associated with attending the two retreats.
- Free access to LSP resources. This includes technical advice from our LSP farmer network members, and free admission to LSP-sponsored events and workshops. (LSP membership must be current.)
LSP Journeyperson Course
The first Journeyperson course was started in Maine by our Farm Beginnings Collaborative partner Maine Organic Farming and Gardening Association in 1999.The Journeyperson Course provides hands-on, mentored farming, technical assistance and training for FARM BEGINNINGS students, graduates, and experienced farmers who are serious about pursuing careers in sustainable agriculture.
LSP has developed the course to fill the continuing education gap between farm start-up and farm establishment. Additionally, the goal is to provide the resources and opportunities for beginning farmers who have completed an initial farm-planning course and have gained some experience on their own, but feel a need to further develop the skills they need to farm independently and successfully. The program is largely shaped by the farming interests and goals of individual participants, and is intended to enable aspiring new farmers to gain advanced farming experience, skill, and perspective in a relatively safe and supportive environment of a peer-to-peer learning network. Journeypeople also benefit from participating in a supportive farmer network of like-minded, motivated people with everywhere from one year of experience to decades.
Benefits of participating
Aspiring beginning farmers will be able to gain more farming experience, skill, and perspective in a relatively safe and supportive environment, which builds on the lessons learned as part of the successful Farm Beginnings course – now offered to individuals in 14 states. We expect participants to strengthen farm plans and deepen relationships with peers as part of an on-going network that is facilitated by LSP staff.
LSP expects all people who go through the Journeyperson Course to enter into an agreement with us describing their goals and objectives for the program; to complete full farm plans; and to participate in a loose curriculum that includes regular mentor, financial advisor, and peer meetings and workshop attendance. Participants pay $600* (split between LSP/MOSES/FBM) and assume additional expenses for food and lodging connected to the two planning retreats. *additional costs may be associated with FBM for those that do not qualify for scholarships.
Prospective Journeypersons should be Farm Beginnings graduates, Farm Beginnings students, or experienced farmers able to demonstrate basic competence in a range of skills, a solid commitment, and reasonably clear and realistic plans for their future farming activities. Journeypersons must be farming a piece of land and marketing a product or at the very least have plans to market a product in the given year. Anyone considering applying for the course should feel free to get in touch with LSP staff members Richard Ness.
Matched Savings Opportunity
Participants in the Journeyperson Course can start a Matched Savings Account with LSP, which allows them to invest up to $2400 over a two-year period. At the end of two years participants will receive $2400 from LSP, in effect doubling their money by participating in the Matched Savings Account. For more information go to LSP Matched Savings Account.
LSP reviews Journeyperson applications annually, May to September. We notify successful applicants by early October. The current application cycle begins April 2014 with an application deadline of September 15. Fifteen farms will be accepted to the program each calendar year. There is a $200 deposit fee (if accepted the $200 will cover your cost of LSP’s portion of the program). There is a separate $200 fee that will go to MOSES for your farmer mentorship and also a fee for the services of FBM (the FBM fee will vary according to state and scholarships available)
For an application contact Richard Ness.
Application deadline: September 15, 2014.
For more information contact Richard Ness, LSP Journeyperson Course Coordinators. By phone: Richard 320-269-2105.