Proposed by: Gary W.Lesoing

Presenters: Lesoing, G. W., Extension Educator, University Of Nebraska-LincolnExtension, Auburn, NE 68305
Fraas, W., Assistant Director of Opportunities and Stewardship, Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons , NE 68038
Powers, W., Executive Director, Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, Ceresco, NE 68017

In 2004, a SARE grant was received to initiate a Farm Beginnings® Program in Nebraska. University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Extension, the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society and the Center for Rural Affairs cooperated on this project. The first program began in 2005, followed by 5 others in the next 9 years with 39 farms or prospective farmers completing the training. UNL Extension administers and facilitates this program. The training consists of 10 classroom style sessions that focus on farming holistically and sustainably. Most of the presenters were farmers that have been successfully farming sustainably for several years. The farmers discussed production, finances and marketing on their farm. We also have UNL Extension Educators and representatives from other agencies, i.e. the Farm Service Agency (FSA) serve as presenters providing information on sustainable agriculture, ag budgets and marketing, loan opportunities and tax programs for beginning farmers and ranchers. As part of the program, we invite past participants to present at one of our classroom sessions. The goal of the program is for each farm to complete a business plan by the end of the class. Seventy-two percent (28 of 39 farms) that participated in Farm Beginnings® are currently involved in production agriculture. One class participant said, “This program had a huge impact. I have improved my business plan and my overall efficiency.” In 2013 a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Grant was also used to conduct 6 workshops across Nebraska where 90 people learned about different sustainable farming practices and farm business planning.

All Accepted Proposals