SPRING VALLEY, Wis. — Beginning farmers can boost their farming skills through New Farmer U, a weekend conference offered in two locations: Nov. 10-12 in Montour, Iowa, and Dec. 8-10 in Streator, Illinois. New Farmer U is presented by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) and Renewing the Countryside.
“Farmers in their first five years on the farm have unique challenges,” said Jennifer Nelson, MOSES Organic Specialist and New Farmer U manager. “The weekend training gives them insights from experienced farmers, and helps them connect with other beginning farmers so they can support each other.”
The conference focuses on farming practices that are sustainable and organic. The schedule includes 10 workshops on farming topics such as soil fertility, marketing, and tractor maintenance. There will also be expert-led discussions on farm law and organic certification. Government agencies and farming organizations will have resource tables highlighting services to help beginning farmers.
New Farmer U-Iowa takes place at Pilgrim Heights Camp and Retreat Center; New Farmer U-Illinois is at Streator Baptist Camp. Each event has all-inclusive price of $125 that covers workshops and activities plus dormitory-type lodging and meals. “The weekend feels like being back in college, only now we’re all farmers,” Nelson added.
New Farmer U participants at both locations have the option to attend one of two full-day workshops the Friday prior to the conference for $25 (half the regular price). Topics are “Fearless Farm Finances,” covering basic farm financial management, and, “Food Safety,” focusing on the new federal rules for vegetable growers.
Find more details about New Farmer U and the full-day workshops online at NewFarmerU.org or call 715-778-5775.
— Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service