2017 Growing Farmers Workshop - Hastings, Neb.

Saturday, January 14, 2017 to Saturday, June 10, 2017

If you dream of starting your own farm or ranch business, the Center’s workshops and farm tours are for you. Our Growing Farmers Workshop will help you learn both the business and the production sides you need to start a market farm business. The course is offered in English and translated into Spanish.

Classes are held in Hastings, Neb., on Saturdays at Head Start Child and Family Development Program, 123 N. Marian Rd., Hastings, Neb. 68901. They begin Jan. 14 and will continue until May 20. The course is generally 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., times may vary.

Attending this course will provide participants with the tools to hit the ground running with their own farm business. Land or experience is not required to attend.

Session 9: May 6, 2017
Topic: Incubator farms + afternoon tour

Session 10: May 20, 2017
Topic: Grazing and pasture based farming + afternoon tour

Session 11: June 3, 2017
Topic: CSA farms + afternoon tour  

Session 12: June 10, 2017
Integrated farm systems, both organic and biodynamic + afternoon tour

Past sessions included:

Business Planning

Session 1: Jan. 14, 2017
The first session focuses on business planning. Why do you need a business plan? Participants will learn the basic structure of a business plan, obtain tools for completing a business plan and review an example plan. The afternoon will be spent working on business plans. In the plan, participants will be asked to identify their values, give a brief history of their farm and current situation.

Session 2: Jan. 21, 2017
The second session focuses on wholesale markets and enterprise budgets. Hear from area farmers about the different types of wholesale markets available to small scale farmers. The afternoon will focus on farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). A market manager will share tips for farmers market success, CSA and CSA’s place in the market.

Optional Event: Jan. 27 and 28, 2017
The Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Conference, in Columbus, Neb., is not part of the courses, but participants are encouraged to attend. Learn more at nebsusag.org.

Session 3: Feb. 4, 2017
The third session will focus on small business training. Learn about legal entities, how to approach customers, invoicing and weekly availabilities. This session will also include an introduction on bookkeeping and bookkeeping exercises.

Farm Management

Session 4: Feb. 11, 2017
The farm management segment begins in session four with a focus on small scale animal options. Poultry options will be discussed in the afternoon.

Session 5: Feb. 18, 2017
Session five’s focus is to be announced. This topic will be based on participants’ needs. Planning exercises will take place in the afternoon.

Session 6: Feb. 25, 2017
In session six, participants will create their own crop plans.


Food Safety Plan

Session 7: March 11, 2017
The food safety segment begins on March 11. Participants will obtain an overview of food safety and a farm assessment. The afternoon will be spent on the components of a food safety plan and a review of an example plan.

Session 8: March 18, 2017
In session eight, participants will write their own food safety plan.

There are fees for the course, with a sliding scale based on income. Scholarships are available. Pre-registration is required.

Participants are encouraged to attend the full course, but may pick and choose which workshops and farm tours work best for them to attend. Each session will begin at Head Start in Hastings, then attendees can travel together to the tours.

For questions or to register in English, please contact Kirstin Bailey at kirstinb@cfra.org or  402.367.8989. For questions or to register in Spanish, please contact Lucia Schulz at lucias@cfra.org or 402.750.5727.

Growing Farmer Workshops are hosted by Center for Rural Affairs in partnership with Community Crops. Funds are provided by the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.