One of the most comprehensive farmer training initiatives in the country is offering educational and support options for both new and established farmers beginning this fall. The Land Stewardship Project is accepting applications for its Farm Beginnings Program and the Journeyperson Course.
Farm Beginnings is a 12-month course that helps beginning farmers clarify their goals and strengths, establish an enterprise plan and start the process of building their operation. Classes will be held in Pine City, Minn., beginning in October. Nine farmer-led classroom sessions will be held on Saturdays through March 2018, followed by on-farm tours and field days, as well as opportunities to connect with an extensive farmer network.
In 2017, Farm Beginnings is marking its 20th year of providing firsthand training in low-cost, sustainable methods of farming. The course is designed for people of all ages just getting started in farming, as well as established farmers looking to make changes in their operations. Over the years, more than 800 people have graduated from the Minnesota-region Farm Beginnings course. Graduates are involved in a range of agricultural enterprises, including grass-based livestock, organic vegetables, Community Supported Agriculture and specialty products.
Farm Beginnings applications are due Sept. 1; applications received by Aug. 1 will receive a $100 discount off the regular $1,500 tuition fee. Need-based scholarships are available.
LSP’s two-year Journeyperson Course is designed to support people who have a few years of farm startup and management experience under their belt and are working to take their operation to the next level. Participants gain assistance moving their farming plans forward through advanced financial planning and one-on-one financial advisement; production assistance through mentorship with an experienced farmer; and guidance on balancing farm, family and personal needs.
The course consists of four retreats held in the region over the two years, as well as in-depth, individualized work with a financial adviser and farmer-mentor. Participants who develop and execute a comprehensive financial plan are eligible to have their savings of up to $2,400 matched to invest in a wealth-generating asset for their farm.
The cost of the Journeyperson Course is $1,200. Applications and a $200 deposit are due Oct. 1.