Farm Beginnings Program For Non-Traditional Ag Returns in January

Farm Beginnings Program For Non-Traditional Ag Returns in January December 14, 2017

Farm Beginning brochure cover

Nebraska Extension will be offering its ninth Farm Beginnings® Program starting in January at the Kimmel Education and Research Center in Nebraska City. The program, facilitated by Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, is an educational training and support program for those who want to learn how to evaluate and plan their farm enterprise. Participants attend seminars, field days, and conferences and engage in a mentorship experience with successful, innovative farmers.

While Farm Beginnings isn’t for someone wanting to get into conventional farming, it has appealed to those interested in farming on a smaller scale, including some who migrated from urban to rural areas.  Most of the farmer presenters come from small- to medium-sized farming operations that produce and market diversified and value-added products. Many of these farmers direct market their products.

Course participants may be interested in becoming involved with growing alternative crops or producing fruits and vegetables for direct sale to consumers, grocery stores, or restaurants.  Others may be interested in growing livestock for direct marketing. This is an opportunity for people interested in this type of farming to learn from farmers making a living at it.

The Farm Beginnings Program consists of 11 sessions from January through April that cover a variety of topics including:

  • building networks,
  • goal setting,
  • whole farm planning,
  • building your business plan,
  • marketing, business and farm management and
  • financial management.

Class participants will learn firsthand from the farmers and develop their own business plan as they progress through the course. They also have the opportunity to have a farm mentor. As part of the class tuition, participants can also attend the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society’s Healthy Farms Conference in 2018. Conference sessions focus on topics in sustainable agriculture, such as: vegetable production, grass-fed beef, pasture poultry, meat and dairy goat production, composting, cover crops, organic farming, growing crops in high-tunnels, bee keeping, farm transitioning and agri-tourism. Farm tours are also part of the program.

Cost for the program is $500; partial scholarships of $200 may be available to assist with the registration cost.

To view the program schedule and planned topics, see the program brochure or the Nemaha County Extension website or for more information contact Extension Educator Gary Lesoing at glesoing2@unl.edu or (402) 274-4755.