Stateline Farm Beginnings
September 27, 2020
Now accepting applications for 2021.
Apply for Stateline Farm Beginnings to launch or improve your farm business.
Stateline Farm Beginnings® is a yearlong course designed to help launch or expand your farm business. Divided into three main components: Farm Dreams Intensive, Skill Building Practicum, Farm Business Intensive, you’ll receive over 60 contact hours of class time. Start in the winter by shaping your dream farm into a functional farm proposal and develop a personalized learning plan. In the spring and summer, you’ll work with a mentor in your specific areas of interest. Autumn will bring you back into the classroom, building a strategic farm business plan rooted in profitability and longevity, guiding your dreams into reality. Most sessions feature a farmer panel segment during which you’ll gain knowledge from some of the most innovative farmers and experts in the Midwest while creating lifelong friendships within a new farming network. Other presenters include an attorney, an accountant, Extension educators, USDA programs, insurance providers, a banker and others who provide important practical information.
Stateline Farm Beginnings® attracts both rural and urban participants from Chicago, Rockford, Milwaukee, Madison – and everywhere in between. We also encourage veterans to apply! The program has graduated nearly 300 sustainable farmers (read Graduate Profiles) in our region. Stateline Farm Beginnings® is part of the Farm Beginnings Collaborative®. The Farm Beginnings® model is emerging as the most effective way to increase the number of beginning farmers building food & farm economies that are green, fair, and healthy. Farm Beginnings® is approved as an educational provider through the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Completion of this course fulfills the educational requirements for FSA loan applicants.
Stateline Farm Beginnings® has 3 Sessions:
- Farm Dreams Intensive (January to March) focused on goal-setting, writing a mission & vision statement, marketing strategies, planning for profit, creating a personalized learning plan, and developing a farm proposal. New for 2021: Take this as a standalone course or as a part of the complete Stateline Farm Beginnings® program.
- Skill Building Practicum (March to October) Farms visits in northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, and the Chicagoland area during UM CRAFT Field Days. Participants are matched in a 1-to-1 mentorship with an experienced sustainable farmer in their field of interest. Arrangements are flexible, taking location, employment and family into account.
- Farm Business Intensive (September to December) dive into budgeting, pricing strategies, completing and understanding financial statements, and developing a business plan.