Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

So You Want To Farm? We Can Help.

- from the desk of Martin Kleinschmit, Center for Rural Affairs,

So You Want To Farm? We Can Help.

Faced with today’s volatile commodity markets, sky-high production costs and fickle weather, who can possibly make a profit in farming? Mark and Wendy Lange, and about 130 other farm families in Minnesota say they can because of the training received in the Farm Beginnings Program. The Lange’s said the program helped them decide if farming was a viable option for them and what enterprises to consider.

Designed for beginners and experienced farmers, Farm Beginnings is a nine-session program that gives participants the opportunity to set goals to insure a quality of life, and develop business plans to maintain profitability. Graduates of the course now farm a total of more than 6,000 acres in Minnesota.

Much of the success of this program is credited to the farmer instructors, who have made a life and successful business from their farming operations. Continued training is available through a mentor program that pairs participants with cooperating farmers to provide long-term support and advice.

And now Farm Beginnings is coming to Nebraska.

In addition to Farm Beginnings, qualified persons who complete the course in Nebraska may be eligible for zero-interest, revolving livestock loans through the Heifer International program. The course also satisfies the Gold Medal Management training required by USDA’s Beginning Farmer Loan Program.

Limited to 20 families, the deadline for registration is October 24th. The cost is $800.00, but scholarships are available. The program will begin November 5th in Syracuse, Nebraska.

To register contact Paul Rohrbaugh, 402-869-2396, James Peterson 402-426-9455, Martin Kleinschmit, 402-254-6893, Steve Zimmers 402-269-2301

The program is sponsored by the Center for Rural Affairs, Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension, and Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

- for more information contact Martin Kleinschmit,
- or - John Crabtree, Center for Rural Affairs,

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.


  • At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    do you have to be farming currently to be able to participate in this training?

  • At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I live in Minnesota and event though I did not participate in the farm beginnings course I know a young farmer who did. He and his wife tell me this is a great training and worth every penny.

  • At 1:24 PM, Blogger Center for Rural Affairs said…

    In response to the first question posted here - no - the Farm Beginnings program does not require that you be currently engaged in farming. Anyone interested in developing business plans for a profitable farm (future or existing operations) and the opportunity to set goals to insure a quality of life in farming and ranching is welcome to participate.

    The program is geared to beginning farmers and ranchers - both those starting out and also those considering starting - but experienced farmers can also gain insights on how to increase the profitability of their operation, plan for new ventures on their operation, and establish goals in their farm business to create a better quality of life.

    In short, all who are or wish to make a living in farming and ranching are welcome and encouraged to sign up.

    John Crabtree
    Center for Rural Affairs
    Values. Worth. Action.


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