Farm Beginnings Program Set to Begin Dec. 10 in Syracuse

Farm Beginnings Program Set to Begin Dec. 10 in Syracuse

UNL initiative links beginning farmers with successful, established operators in a mentoring and education program.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension will begin its fourth Farm Beginnings Program at the First National Bank in Syracuse on Dec. 10.

As part of a USDA Farmer and Rancher Grant, UNL Extension is facilitating the Farm

Beginnings Program, which is an educational training and support program designed to help people who want to evaluate and plan their farm enterprise.

Gary Lesoing, Extension educator in Nemaha County, Farm Beginnings participants engage in a mentorship experience and network with a variety of successful, innovative farmers and attend practical, high quality seminars, field days and conferences.

The program is unique in that several successful farmers participate in the program as presenters, explaining firsthand the nuts and bolts of their farming operation.

While any beginning farmer would benefit from attending these training sessions, most of the farmers that present come from small to medium sized farming operations that produce and market many different diversified and value-added products, Lesoing says. Many of these farmers direct market their products.

The program consists of a series of 10 sessions from December to 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.

While class participants will learn firsthand from farmers, they also will work on developing their own business plan as they progress through the course, he says.

As part of the class tuition, participants also will have the opportunity to attend the Rural

Advantage/Healthy Farms Conference Feb. 10-11 at the Lied Lodge in Nebraska City.

This annual conference focuses on topics such as: vegetable production, grass-fed beef, cover crops, organic farming, bee keeping, farm transitioning and agri-tourism. 

There also is a farm tour in December and several in the summer to see how farmers are operating. If interested, participants also have the opportunity to have a farmer mentor.

Cost of the total program is $500, but participants may qualify for a partial scholarship.

Participants that complete the whole course will receive a $100 scholarship that will help cover the cost of the class.

For a brochure and an application for the program go to

http://nemaha.unl.edu and scroll down to the Farm Beginnings article.

Registration is open until the start date of the program.

For more information about the program contact Gary Lesoing, Extension educator, at [email protected] or at 402-274-4755, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Nemaha County.
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