Anyone interested in beginning a career in farming is welcome to attend one of a series of six workshops being held around the Midwest in July. Three of these workshops will be held in Iowa. You are encouraged to attend the workshop nearest you. The theme is "Planning for Profit: Marketing and Financial Management for New Farmers."
"The workshop is for returning military veterans and others interested in getting started farming," explains Hannah Lewis of the National Center for Appropriate Technology or NCAT, based in Des Moines. "Participants will learn how to develop the business side of starting an entrepreneurial diversified farm. The Wisconsin and Minnesota workshops will also include a farm tour."
The workshops have a special emphasis on reaching out to returning veterans of the military who are exploring a career in farming. NCAT is conducting this training series for beginning farmers. The series is sponsored by USDA's Risk Management Agency and held in collaboration with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (www.farmvetco.org).
Here are dates and locations for this month's workshops
* Thursday, July 12 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. This workshop will take place at the Center for Energy and Environmental Education, Cedar Falls, Iowa. Presenter: Terrell "Spence" Spencer
* Friday, July 13, 3 p.m. to Saturday June 14, 3 p.m. This one will be held at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, East Troy, Wisconsin. Presenters: Terrell "Spence" Spencer and Guy Ames
* Sunday, July 15, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It's at the Organic Field School, at Farmington, Minnesota. Presenter: Guy Ames
* Sunday, July 22, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. This one will have a special emphasis on marketing strategies. It will be at the Organic Field School, at Farmington, Minnesota. Presenter: Tammy Hinman
* Monday, July 23, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The workshop will be held at the Iowa State University Extension office in Decorah, Iowa. Presenter: Tammy Hinman
* Tuesday, July 24, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. This one will be at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Presenter: Tammy Hinman
Presenters are experienced, knowledgeable and interesting
The presenters at the workshops are experienced, knowledgeable and interesting to listen to. Here's a brief bio on each speaker:
* Tammy Hinman has worked in the sustainable agriculture field for more than 20 years as a farmer, and has also worked for the Cooperative Extension Service and for various nonprofit organizations. Tammy is currently a horticulture specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology. She works on projects related to beginning farmers, business planning, farmers markets and market gardening. She also runs a small diversified vegetable and flower farm in Bozeman, Montana.
* Terrell "Spence" Spencer is a National Center for Appropriate Technology staff member. He is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He grows several thousand broilers per year on pasture for restaurant, retail and individual customers in northwest Arkansas. The family farm also sells eggs to its markets as well as vegetables produced in its high tunnel structure. Spence provides farmers, especially livestock producers, with information and assistance on business and financial planning for the vital early years of starting a farming operation. He also has a degree in Soil Science with emphasis on soil and water conservation.
* Guy Ames is a NCAT sustainable ag specialist who provides farmers, especially fruit growers, with information and assistance to empower them to be the most environmentally sound growers they can be while maintaining a sustainable income. Guy runs an organic orchard and is a writer in the areas of fruit production and beginning farmer business start-up. He has a Masters' degree in horticulture.
For more information or to register for one of these workshops, contact NCAT at 515-288-0460 or email [email protected].