; Farm Beginnings-TM: Providing Women With Training and Support for a Small Farm Enterprise | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Farm Beginnings-TM: Providing Women With Training and Support for a Small Farm Enterprise

Kate Twohig


Farm Beginnings™ is a comprehensive farmer- led mentorship and training program designed to help beginning farmers get started farming. A combination of seminars addressing sustainable production, goal setting, business planning and management, including financial planning and alternative marketing practices, as well as hands- on farm experience with established farmers through mentorships and farm tours provide the foundation for this 10-month course. Unique to other courses, experienced established farmers are the presenters and mentors as well as continuing to guide the program. To date, entering the ninth year in Minnesota, Farm Beginnings™ has trained 225 people; over 60% of whom are farming, over 6,000 acres in a diverse spectrum of enterprises: dairy (cow and goat), beef, hogs, meat goats, sheep, poultry, wholesale vegetables, Community Supported Agriculture, organic grains and specialty products such as flowers.

After seeing the successes in Minnesota, state collaborators in IL, MO, and NE are being trained to offer Farm Beginnings™ in their states. Farm Beginnings™ programs began in Fall, 2005 in these states. This is providing possibilities for more beginning farmers to carefully think through a plan, develop networks with established farmers, and gain hands- on experience to set themselves up for success in their farming endeavors.

This session will focus on the nuts and bolts of the Farm Beginnings™ program, shared testimonials from women graduates of the program, and insights from a graduate of the course, and next steps of transferring this model to other locations with interest and need.