The Land Stewardship Project (LSP) is now accepting applications for its 2013-2014 Farm Beginnings course. Farm Beginnings class sessions will begin this fall and LSP is providing participants two options for getting involved in one of the most successful beginning farmer training initiatives in the country. Classes will be offered in the Minnesota communities of Winona and Saint Cloud this fall and winter.
The application deadline for the 2013-2014 Farm Beginnings course is Thursday, Aug. 1. For application materials or for more information, see
www.farmbeginnings.org or contact Karen Benson at (507) 523-3366; lspse@landstewardship>project.org.
In 2013, LSP’s Farm Beginnings program is marking its 16th year of providing firsthand training in low-cost, sustainable methods of farming. The course is tailor-made for people of all ages just getting started in farming, as well as established farmers looking to make changes in their operations. Farm Beginnings participants learn goal setting, financial planning, enterprise planning, marketing and innovative production techniques.
Classes are led by farmers and other agricultural professionals from the area. The classes, which meet approximately twice-a-month, run until March 2014, followed by an on-farm education component that includes farm tours and skills sessions. The fee is $1,500 per farming partnership (flexible payment plan and partial scholarships available), and early-bird registrants are eligible to attend on-farm education events this summer and fall.
Over the years, more than 600 people have graduated from the Minnesota-region Farm Beginnings program. In surveys of recent Farm Beginnings graduates, 70 percent said that they were actively farming within 6 months of completing the course. Farm Beginnings graduates are involved in a wide range of agricultural enterprises, including grass-based livestock, organic vegetables, Community Supported Agriculture and specialty products.
Besides Minnesota and Wisconsin, Farm Beginnings classes have been held over the years in Illinois, Nebraska and North Dakota. Farm Beginnings courses have recently been launched in South Dakota, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, New York and Maine.