Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Farming Future

I am so excited!  Just yesterday, I was thinking about my dream of becoming a small farmer. I know I'm already small (I'm only 5'2") but what I really mean is a farmer who works on a small amount of acreage rather than thousands of acres.  So I did some research yesterday, typing searches into google such as "young farmers" and "beginning farmers" and found some great resources.  Not only is there a whole website for those are who new to farming but I also found some workshops and classes held by the University of Illinois Extension Offices and a program called Central Illinois Farm Beginnings which is a year-long program that includes business planning seminars, on-farm field days, and one-on-one mentorships with local small farmers!  The applications come out June 1, so I'll know more about it then but it seems like a great program and something I think would be a great jumping off point for kick-starting my dream of owning a small farm business.  We have the chickens and the sheep and the vegetable garden and the old tractors, but we still want more.  My goal would be to be able to work solely from our home farm in a few years.  But for now we have a long way to go.  My first step was signing Joey and myself up for a workshop on June 11 called Farming Fundamentals- Know Your Food, Be a Farmer.  It's $10 for the whole day and includes lunch.  The topics include: Key Elements of a Successful Farm Business Plan, Finding your market-Know What to Grow, and Grant Writing Basics and Finance.  Should be very interesting and it works out perfectly because we were going to be in the area that weekend for a friend's grad-school graduation party.  We're still at the beginning of our journey to go from suburban kids to family farmers but we have to start somewhere!

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