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Farm Beginnings

A SUSTAINABLE FARM BUSINESS COURSE FOR NORTH DAKOTA GROWERS

Bring your farm dreams to life!

Farm Beginnings® is a farmer-led, community based, business course for sustainable agriculture.

COST

Registration: $25 per student

Tuition: $500 per farm

A family or business partners may attend together from the same farm. Tuition is per farm and each team member pays the $25 registration fee.

Scholarships and payment plans are available.

Learn the elements of sustainable farming: passion, clear goals, production experience, financial and marketing know how, and good decision making.

Local producers will teach you how to earn profit over the long term, steward land, air and water, and improve quality of life for your family and community.

In the course you will piece together a sustainable farm business plan.

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Farm Beginnings is a USDA Farm Service Agency certified borrower training program. Graduates have completed the financial education requirement for FSA loans.  

FARM BEGINNINGS INCLUDES:

  • Ten interactive online classes  (Thursday evenings 6pm - 8pm CST, 1/28 - 4/8)

  • Video lectures

  • Virtual farm tours

  • Mentorship from experienced local growers

  • Books, worksheets, and tools to grow your business

Find the Farm Beginnings schedule and more details below.

Meet our Farm Beginnings Alumni

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Adam Mawby

Dunseith, ND

Adam Mawby used what he learned in Farm Beginnings to grow his business, gardendwellers RANCH. He uses regenerative practices to raise and market pastured lamb and chicken. He says, "I'm thankful to have FARRMS offering the knowledge and networking I need to succeed."

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Simeon Bakunda

Fargo, ND

Like many North Dakotans, Simeon was raised on a family farm. He came from Africa to Fargo as an adult. His family missed their traditional foods. Now he grows African greens (amaranth), sweet potatoes, and his own eggplant, and shares the harvest with his neighbors.

Simeon farms because, as he says,We all need to eat, and you need to eat what you want. I’m want to grow a farm business here and I want to help other people like me realize their dreams.“

Farm Beginnings helped Simeon understand how to farm in new conditions and brought a deeper understanding of the financial aspect of farming. Farm tours have allowed him a firsthand look at the realities of small-scale rural farming in North Dakota.

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Kathleen Johnson

Fargo, ND

Kathleen Johnson began exploring new business ideas with her husband and they fell in love with berries. FARRMS’ Farm Beginnings course helped her create a solid business plan that addressed the financial, social, and environmental impacts of her enterprise. She says the farm financial management

portion of the course was especially helpful and prepared her to face common barriers to entry. 

 “We had some finance experience, but farm finances are different. Financing a new farm is expensive and getting land is really difficult,” Kathy said.

Kathy has a vision to begin educating future generations of farmers while they’re young. She said, “I get a great deal fo joy from diggin in the dirt and I like sharing that by teaching others. There is an interest and a need for quality, farm-based educational programs for kids.”

 

Registration, Tuition, and Scholarships

FARRMS aims to create affordable, broadly accessible programs, while fairly compensating our farmer presenters, mentors, and dedicated staff.

Registration is $25 per person. The registration fee defrays the cost of workbooks, lesson materials, printing and shipping.

Tuition for Farm Beginnings is $500 per farm which is roughly $20 per classroom hour and comparable to the cost of an online course at a public community college. If your farm has multiple team members attending, the $25 registration must be paid for each team member but the tuition fee covers the entire team/

We encourage students who have the means to pay as much of the tuition as you are able. Payment plans are available for those who would like to pay the tuition in installments.

Pay Tuition in Installments

Pay Partial Tuition

Do you have a partial scholarship or payment plan set up? You can pay the balance of your tuition here.

This information is from last year's Farm Beginnings course which ran from January - April 2021. We'll be updating this spot soon with dates and topics for 2022.

Farm Beginnings 2021 Schedule

Session
Topic
Date
Time
Orientation
01/29/2021
6:00 pm - 7:15 pm CST
Session #1
Sustainability; Identify Resource bAse
02/05/2021
6 pm - 8 pm CST
Farmer Happy Hour
Meet Mentors
02/06/2021
6:30 pm - 7:15 pm CST
Session #2
Holistic Goal Setting
02/12/2021
6 pm - 8 pm CST
February Lunch-n-Learn
02/17/2021
12 pm - 1 pm CST
Session #3
Soil Health and Natural Resources Management
02/19/2021
6 pm - 8 pm CST
Session #4
Budgets and Record Keeping
03/05/2021
6 pm - 8 pm CST
Study Session
Farm Financials
03/09/2021
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm CST
Session #5
Holistic Financial Planning
03/12/2021
6 pm - 8 pm CST
March Lunch-n-Learn
03/17/2021
12 pm - 1 pm CST
Session #6
Marketing
03/18/2021
6 pm - 8 pm CST
Study Session
Marketing Plans
03/22/2021
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm CST
Session #7
Farm Food Safety, Risk Management
03/25/2021
6 pm - 8 pm CST
Study Session
Your Farm Plans
03/29/2021
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm CST
Session #8
Connecting to Resources
04/01/2021
6 pm - 8 pm CST
Study Session
Your Farm Plans
04/05/2021
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm CST
Session #9
Present Your Farm Plans, Celebrate!
04/08/2021
6 pm - 8 pm CST
April Lunch-n-Learn
04/14/2021
12 pm - 1 pm CST

For 2021 Farm Beginnings Students