Signup for our E-News

Home » Stateline Farm Beginnings

Stateline Farm Beginnings


Stateline Farm Beginnings is a yearlong training course designed to help you launch or expand your farm business. Students learn sustainable farming practices used on real farms, develop a tailor-made farming/business plan, and begin to view the farm as an interconnected system. Students also gain knowledge from some of the most innovative farmers and experts in the Midwest, and create lifelong friendships within a new farming network. Stateline Farm Beginnings also offers opportunities to access land and equipment. Our program attracts both rural and urban participants, with students from Chicago, Rockford, Milwaukee, Madison, and nearby communities. We also encourage veterans to apply!

Since 2005, graduates of Stateline Farm Beginnings have launched more than 55 new sustainable farms in our region. Learn more by reading our Stateline Farm Beginnings Graduate Profiles!

Stateline Farm Beginnings is part of the Farm Beginnings Collaborative. Farm Beginnings is emerging as the most effective way to increase the number of beginning farmers who are building food and farm economies that are green, fair, and healthy. Farm Beginnings is approved as an educational provider through the Farm Service Agency (FSA)! Completion of the course fulfills the educational requirements for FSA loan applicants. Learn more about Farm Beginnings and where to find other members at

Stateline Farm Beginnings has three main components:

  • Winter Business-Planning Sessions (October to March) focus on goal-setting, planning for profit, marketing & pricing strategies, and developing a business plan. 
  • Field Days and Events (January to October) are hosted at sustainable farms in northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin and Chicagoland area.
  • One-On-One Mentorships (April to September) are carefully matched with a successful sustainable farmer in your field of interest. Arrangements are flexible, taking location, employment and family into account. Students may be paid, depending on the agreement between mentor and mentee.

Ready to Apply?

Learn how today

Not ready to start a farm business? Join our farmer network!

 Consider joining Upper Midwest CRAFT! We offer a CRAFT Farmer and Friend of CRAFT membership for those not currently farming. Upper Midwest CRAFT members get first notification when the Stateline Farm Beginnings application period begins each summer.


For more information on our program, or to receive notifications about future Stateline Farm Beginnings courses, contact Sheri Doyel, Program Facilitator, by phone at 815-389-8455 or by email. Not in our area? Check out the other Farm Beginnings Programs in Illinois!