Monday, December 13, 2010

“Grow Your Farm” Course Helps Landowners Plan New Farm Enterprises

MU Extension, in partnership with Lincoln University Cooperative Extension’s 2501 Program, will offer the first “Grow Your Far” course in southwest Missouri from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., starting Tuesday, Feb. 8 at the Southwest Research Center in Mt. Vernon. The courses will continue on Tuesday evenings through March.
Designed for prospective, beginner and experienced farmers interested in exploring new enterprises, this eight-week course allows producers to network with successful farm operators and business experts.

“Along with an instructor, most classes will have actual farmer presenters, people who have been successful at the enterprises they will discuss with the class,” says Debi Kelly, Missouri Alternatives Center project manager on the MU campus, the curriculum’s coordinating author.

“With the continued growth of people moving into rural fringe areas around major cities, MU Extension receives more questions from people who want to make a living, or at least create a profitable business, on their acreage,” Kelly says. “Grow Your Farm is designed to answer those questions and help them start successful enterprises. It should also be valuable for producers looking for new ideas to make their existing farms more successful.”

Most sessions will focus on business planning and the process of selecting enterprises that can be profitable, based on an individual’s skills and resources.

Take advantage of the Early Bird Registration for $225 per operation (two participants) before Jan. 14 or pay $250 after Jan. 14.

Registration fees include sessions with guest speakers, farm tours, a subscription to Ag Opportunities e-newsletter, refreshments and one set of materials (course notebook, textbook, copies of the Grow Your Farm PowerPoint presentations and supplemental resources).

For each additional person, there is a small extra charge. Scholarships are available to socially disadvantaged farmers.

To register, contact Sarah Becker, a horticulture specialist with Lincoln University Extension at (417) 597-4412. Class sizes will be limited to 20 farms, with two decision makers from each farm encouraged to participate.

For more information about the program and other locations around the state, browse the Grow Your Farm Web site.

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