An extension educational program will help landowners who want to get into farming for the first time as well as current farmers who are interested in starting new enterprises.
Grow Your Farm, a program offered by University of Missouri Extension, will connect people considering a farm career with successful farm operators and business experts, says Debi Kelly, MU Extension horticulture/local foods specialist in east central Missouri and one of the authors of the curriculum.
The curriculum includes eight group sessions that will begin January 25th in Hillsboro and continue on through March 14th.
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. Planning is a big part of the program.
“With the continued growth of people moving into rural fringe areas around major cities, extension receives more questions from people who want to make a living, or at least create a profitable business, on their acreage,” says Kelly. “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.”
Class sizes will be limited to 20 participants, with two decision makers from each farm encouraged to participate.
“Farming takes a lot of work and family commitment,” says Kelly. “Participants are likely to be more successful if both spouses, a partner or a parent and an adult child who will be involved in the operation, are both part of the learning process.”
A fee of $300 per operation (for two participants) includes courses and one set of materials. Fees include the cost of a course notebook and additional textbook, copies of the set of Grow Your Farm PowerPoint presentations, group sessions with guest speakers, farm tours and refreshments. To register, contact the Jefferson County Extension office at 636-797-5391 or email Debi Kelly.