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Beginning Farmers Invited To Apply

Article from Public News Service

By Jim Wishner

St. Paul, MN - Wanted: students from the Midwest interested in learning the basics of sustainable farming. Two courses scheduled for this fall, called Farm Beginnings, will cover getting started, financial planning, production, marketing, and more. The sessions are organized by the Land Stewardship Project, which calls them a good opportunity for those looking for a career change or to pick up a few tips.

Spokeswoman Karen Stettler says the sessions are led by established farmers and cover everything from hands-on experience to a good understanding of the basics.

"One of the keys for Farm Beginnings, for those people who haven't necessarily had opportunity to grow up on a farm, is to connect with established farmers who are very excited and willing to share what they've learned to help other people get started."

It's a good way, says Stettler, to find out how the occupation suits you, while developing new, young operators.

"There is a real need for farmers. There is a real need for local, sustainable products, and it's really important that there are farmers who will be able to provide that resource for people."

More than 380 people have graduated from the class during its dozen years existence, 60 percent of them are actively farming, and graduates are involved in a wide range of area expertise, including grass-based livestock, organic vegetables,and specialty products. The 36-hour classes will be launched this fall in South Dakota, the Hudson Valley, Spicer and River Falls, Wisconsin. They include crop planning and strategy along with on-farm education with tours and lots of support. Participants learn goal setting, alternative marketing and innovative production techniques. Details of the class schedules are online at www.farmbeginnings.org. Registration opens August 26.

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