The National Farmers Union’s (NFU) popular Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) will soon be accepting applications for the spring 2017 program, which is open to all beginning farmers or ranchers.
“Managing a farm today requires a wide range of skills and proper training,” NFU President Roger Johnson said. “Farmers and ranchers must be good businesspeople, bookkeepers, market analysts, salespeople, mechanics, environmentalists, and the list goes on and on. The BFI program was designed to provide tomorrow’s agricultural leaders with the precise skill set they will need to succeed on the farming operations they will soon be running.”
The BFI program was created six years ago in order for the agricultural community to welcome younger farmers and ranchers to a community where over half the farmers are within 10 years of retirement age or older. Over 50 farmers and ranchers have graduated from the program, gaining risk management skills and leadership training.
“The influx of new farmers is a welcome sign in an occupation as critical as food, feed and fuel production,” Johnson said. “Now we just need to make sure that they have the tools needed to succeed in today’s fast-paced business environment.”
The program teaches the new farmers skills they may not think of when they first start farming, like business plan writing, financial planning and leadership development. Participants also get the opportunity to network with one another and with established farmers through tours of local farms and cooperatives.