Heartland Farm Beginnings®

What is Farm Beginnings®?

This year-long farmer-led training and support program is designed to help early career farmers, committed to creating a sustainable farm business, achieve their goals.

The intensive, eight-part workshop series will enable farmers, with at least one year of production experience, to develop a whole farm plan through realistic goal setting, financial management, and assessment of resources, skills, and markets. Early career farmers will also receive the business planning tools necessary to successfully implement their plan.

Through Farm Beginnings®, participants will:

  • Learn critical farm management skills such as creative financing and innovative marketing strategies
  • Craft a tailor-made farm business plan
  • Join a vibrant network of local family farms
  • Receive one-on-one feedback from a farmer engaged in a similar enterprise

Applications are now open! Scholarships are also available. Details can be found on the application page.

Who Can Benefit from the Program?

The program is applicable to early career farmers managing a diversity of operations that focus on sustainable and organic production. Individuals should be currently farming (1-10 years experience) or have experience working on farms and are in the process of planning a farm business. If you have questions about whether you are ready for this course, or if it is a good fit for your learning needs, please contact Kelly Henderson.

What Can I Expect?

Heartland Farm Beginnings® includes:
  • Winter Course (October 2018-February 2019): Eight seminars held in Columbus, Ohio will focus on goal setting and planning for profit. After the course ends, participants will meet up at the 2019 OEFFA Conference to learn and network.
  • Growing Season Learning Plan (March 2019-November 2019): Personalized learning and action plan to help you continue education after the course, and stay on track to successfully achieve your goals
  • One-on-One Mentoring (March 2019- November 2019): Direct access to an experienced, sustainable farmer in your field of interest, who will provide you with personalized feedback on your farm business plan, or production and technical assistance

How Can I Get Involved?

Paid pre-registration for the entire Heartland Farm Beginnings® course is required. To apply for registration, click here. To learn more about Farm Beginnings®, please contact Kelly Henderson, Begin Farming Program Coordinator. Learn more about OEFFA's entire Begin Farming program here.
The Farm Beginnings Collaborative (FBC) is a national alliance of regional groups who are offering Farm Beginnings® programs in 13 states. OEFFA's Heartland Farm Beginnings® is the first offered in Ohio. According to survey data from member organizations, these programs have graduated hundreds of farmers, with 71 percent of graduates still farming in 2016. Learn more about FBC and other member organizations here.
This program is supported by NIFA USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (2016-70017-25346).
Investment Fund
OEFFA Policy
Growers Resources
Apprentice Program