December 15, 2015
Lincoln, Neb. —Nebraska Extension will offer the Farm Beginnings Program for the eighth year, beginning Jan. 9 in Weeping Water. The program provides educational training and support to help people who want to evaluate and plan their farm enterprise.
Participants engage in a mentorship experience, network with a variety of innovative farmers and attend practical, high-quality seminars, field days and conferences. The program is unique in that several successful farmers participate as presenters, explaining firsthand the nuts and bolts of their farming operations. While not a program for someone wanting to get into conventional farming, it has attracted several people interested in farming on a smaller scale, some who have migrated from urban to rural areas.
The program provides an opportunity for people interested in learning about growing alternative crops, producing fruits and vegetables for direct sale, or growing livestock for direct marketing to hear about these types of farming from those who are making a living from them. If interested, participants can request a farm mentor.
The program consists of 11 sessions from January through April that cover a variety of topics including building networks, goal setting, whole farm planning, marketing, business and farm management, and financial management. Participants will work on developing their own business plan as they progress through the course.
In addition to several farm tours, participants will be able to attend the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society's Healthy Farms Conference at the Lied Lodge in Nebraska City on Jan. 29 and 30. The conference has been held annually for several years and features sessions that focus on sustainable agriculture, including 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.
The program will begin at the Cass County Extension Office at 8400 144th St., Suite 100, in Weeping Water.
The program costs $500. Partial scholarships are available. For a brochure and application, go to http://nemaha.unl.edu and scroll down to the Farm Beginnings article.
For more information on the program, contact Nebraska Extension educator Gary Lesoing at firstname.lastname@example.org or (402) 274-4755.