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Stateline Farm Beginnings

Stateline Farm Beginnings® is a yearlong program designed to help launch or expand your farm business. Participants learn sustainable farming practices used on real farms, develop a tailor-made farm business plan, and begin to view the farm as an interconnected system. Participants also gain knowledge from some of the most innovative farmers and experts in the Midwest while creating lifelong friendships within a new farming network. The program also offers opportunities to access land and equipment.

Stateline Farm Beginnings attracts both rural and urban participants from Chicago, Rockford, Milwaukee, Madison - and everywhere in between. We also encourage veterans to apply! The program has graduated nearly 300 sustainable farmers (read Graduate Profiles) in our region. Stateline Farm Beginnings is part of the Farm Beginnings Collaborative. The Farm Beginnings model is emerging as the most effective way to increase the number of beginning farmers building food & farm economies that are green, fair, and healthy. Farm Beginnings is approved as an educational provider through the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Completion of this course fulfills the educational requirements for FSA loan applicants.

Stateline Farm Beginnings has four components:

  • Winter Business Planning Sessions (October to March) focused on goal-setting, planning for profit, marketing & pricing strategies, and developing a business plan.
  • Field Day Workshops (October to October) hosted at sustainable farms in northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, and the Chicagoland area. 
  • One-On-One Mentorships (April to September) carefully match participants with a successful sustainable farmer in their field of interest. Arrangements are flexible, taking location, employment and family into account.
  • Last Session & Graduation Event (Late September) celebrates the completion of the course with a graduation potluck. Participants also socialize and reflect on experiences. 

 Learn More

    For more info, contact us here

     Not ready to start a farm business? Consider joining Upper Midwest CRAFT, our farmer training alliance of nearly 200 members! 

    The Stateline Farm Beginnings program is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2019-49400-30072.

    Additional Partners and Funders: