Join 'Start to Farm,' a network for new farmers

Join 'Start to Farm,' a network for new farmers

Learning groups have been started across Iowa to support new and beginning farmers.

The Start to Farm: New Farmer Learning Network, organized by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, is a statewide program designed to provide education and support for beginning and early-career agricultural producers. Start to Farm groups will meet several times throughout the year. Based on priorities and topics determined by each group they will discuss production techniques, ways to grow and improve business practices, and farm management strategies.

START TO FARM: Groups are designed to help participants grow their farm business. They address ways to improve business practices and production techniques, tour successful farm operations, and form a community to share new ideas and profitable farming methods.

Multiple groups will be organized throughout the state, with beginning farmers able to join a group that will be most beneficial to them through either a focus on farm enterprises or geography. Group members will participate in a wide variety of activities, including touring successful farming operations. They also will become part of a community of Iowa beginning farmers.

Group members share ideas and learn about resources available
“Our goal is to provide an open atmosphere for discussion, sharing of ideas and learning about resources for producers who are in their first 10-12 years of farming,” said Patrick Gunn, assistant professor in animal science and Extension beef cow-calf specialist. “Each group will have its own focus depending on the needs of its members.”

Registration for the program is requested, but there is no participation fee. Start to Farm groups will be organized across the state. Contact an ISU Extension and Outreach county office for information about a local Start to Farm group and to register for upcoming Start to Farm: New Farmer Learning Network meetings.

Group locations have been assigned ISU Extension specialists
Start to Farm groups will be facilitated by Iowa State University Extension specialists. The specialists and their topic area are listed by location in the following list.

Eastern Iowa
Group 3: Winneshiek County – Jenn Bentley, Dairy; [email protected], 563-382-2949

Group 5: Fayette County – Mark Storlie, Swine; [email protected], 563-425-3331

Group 6: Dubuque County – Larry Tranel, Dairy; [email protected], 563-425-3331

Group 9: Benton County – Denise Schwab, Beef; [email protected], 319-721-9624

Group 11: Iowa County – Patrick O’Malley, Commercial Horticulture; [email protected], 319-330-0337

Group 14: Mahaska County – Charles Brown, Farm Management; [email protected], 641-673-5841

Group 15: Washington County – Tom Miller, Swine; [email protected], 319-931-3781

Group 17: Wapello County – Colin Johnson, Beef/Swine; [email protected], 515-291-9287

Central Iowa
Group 2: Hancock County – Russ Euken, Beef/Swine; [email protected], 641-923-2856

Group 8: Story County – Hugo Ramirez, Dairy; [email protected], 515-294-5517

Group 10: Dallas County – Joe Hannan, Commercial Horticulture; [email protected], 515-993-4281

Group 13: Marion County – Patrick Wall, Beef; [email protected], 515-450-7665

Group 16: Lucas County – Joe Sellers, Beef; [email protected], 641-203-1270

Western Iowa
Group 1: Sioux County – Beth Doran, Beef; [email protected], 712-395-0280

Group 4: Cherokee County – David Stender, Swine; [email protected], 712-261-0225

Group 7: Carroll County – Shane Ellis, Farm Management; [email protected], 515-520-0601

Group 12: Cass County – Christopher Clark, Beef; [email protected], 712-250-0070

Group 18: Page County – Tim Eggers, Farm Management; [email protected], 712-542-5171

Registration is requested, but there is no participation fee
ISU Extension specialists will deliver information on topics that include basic livestock, grain and horticultural crop farming practices, land access strategies, financial and risk management training and diversification. Groups are organized by location or by production focus, such as livestock or horticultural crops.

The groups are funded by an ISU Extension and Outreach grant through the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. For more information, visit the ISU Extension and Outreach Start to Farm website.

Join 'Start to Farm,' a network for new farmers

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