Farm Beginnings Class

Many skills are required to start a successful farm: passion, clear goals, production experience, financial and marketing know-how, and more.

The Farm Beginnings class is a 12-month training session that helps beginning farmers clarify their goals and strengths, establish a strong enterprise plan and start building their operation. The course uses a mix of farmer-led classroom sessions, on-farm tours, and an extensive farmer network.

Farm Beginnings is designed for new and prospective farmers who want to plan a profitable farm business. Students do not need to currently own land, but some farming or production experience is helpful to get the most out of the class.

In this class, participants will:

  • Establish quality of life goals and clarify their values.
  • Learn about whole farm planning, marketing and financing.
  • Write a farm business proposal.
  • Learn from some of the most innovative and skilled farmers operating in the Midwest.
  • Learn alongside a classroom of your peers.
  • Access an extensive network of farmers through the Farmer Network.
  • See sustainable farming practices in action on active farms.

Farm Beginnings is going virtual for 2020-2021!

Due to COVID-19, The Land Stewardship Project is moving beginning farmer training online this year! Farm Beginnings sessions will take place in an online setting November through March, with on-farm educational events to follow later in 2021. The class cost is $1,000, which covers up to two individuals per farm. Applications are due September 15, 2020, and applications that are received before August 15 (and accepted) will receive a $100 discount. More information and application materials can be found here or by contacting Annelie Livingston-Anderson at 612-217-0553 or annelie@landstewardshipproject.org. Scholarships are available as well as a Minnesota Beginning Farmer Tax Credit for the cost of the class (Minnesota residents).

Farm Beginnings has always been and will continue to be:

  • Farmer-led: Class participants will hear from regional farmers about their farms and how they’ve implemented goal setting, marketing, and financial management practices.

  • Community based: Applicants from Minnesota, western Wisconsin, and northern Iowa will be given priority because LSP is best able to provide resources and connections in this area. If you are located elsewhere, check out the Farm Beginnings Collaborative website (http://farmbeginningscollaborative.org/) to see if there is an organization near you offering Farm Beginnings.

  • Focused on sustainable agriculture: All farmers are encouraged to create a farm plan that is economically, socially, and ecologically sustainable.

What’s new this year:

  • Online meetings instead of in-person.

  • More, shorter sessions instead of 9 full-day sessions (some or all of those sessions will be weekday evenings instead of primarily on Saturdays). Due to a reduction in in-class time, there will most likely be an increase in self-led work time outside of sessions.

  • Tuition will drop from $1,500 per farm to $1,000 per farm.

  • Increased scholarships based on documented financial need.

  • Early bird deadline shifted from August 1st to August 15th.

  • Final application deadline shifted from Sept 1st to Sept 15th.

  • Start date shifted from late October to late November 2020.

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