WASHINGTON (March 28, 2016) – Cultivating the next generation of farmers and ranchers to carry on the legacy of American agriculture is the main focus of the National Farmers Union (NFU) Beginning Farmer Institute. NFU encourages new farmers, starting an operation of any size, to apply for the 2016-17 program class.
Through sessions hosted in Washington D.C. and California, the program’s hands-on training emphasizes many of the challenges beginning farmers may face in their careers, such as business planning, access to capital, land acquisition, marketing, and more.
“As the farm population continues to age, we are looking to the next generation of farmers and ranchers to continue to produce food, fiber and fuel. But farming can be an overwhelming business to get started if you don’t have the right tools,” said NFU president Roger Johnson. “For more than five years, the Beginning Farmer Institute has empowered new farmers from across the country to operate successful farm businesses.”
Farmers from all geographic regions and a diverse range of production methods have greatly benefitted from the training. The most recent graduates of the program, who were recognized at the NFU Convention in Minneapolis, Minn., earlier this month, represented seven states. Women and veterans have been among the program’s most active participants.
“More than half the participants have been women and nearly 10 percent have been veterans,” explained Johnson. “I am pleased to see the diversity of skills and backgrounds these beginning farmers are bringing to the industry.”
Applications for the 2016-2017 class must be postmarked by April 30, 2016, and the class roster will be announced on June 10, 2016. More information about the NFU Beginning Farmer Institute is available at www.nfu.org/nfu-foundation/beginning-farmer-institute.