Farm Link workshop is for beginners

MANHEIM, Pa. – With less than 2 percent of Americans calling themselves farmers and many of those earning more than half of their income off the farm, beginners ask, “How can I get into farming in the current farm economy? What does it take?

Pennsylvania Farm Link’s Beginning Farmer workshop, Feb. 17 will emphasize that a successful farm start-up is not dependent on age, size, type of farm operation, or previous career selection.

Instead, success relies more on negotiating a good fit between your personal and financial resources, your farm and family goals, and the way you decide to enter farming.

Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Samuel E. Hayes Jr. will welcome beginners with encouraging remarks on a career in agriculture: FFA students, other students, and interested adults will learn how Pennsylvania is encouraging new farm entry.

Special speaker.

Keynote speaker, Steve Stevenson from the University of Wisconsin, will present the results of his research with over 325 beginning farmers who started farming between 1993 and 1995.

He will provide insight for new farmers on what other beginning farmers used to be successful. Career entry pathways include taking over your family farm, taking over another family farm, starting from scratch and doing an apprenticeship in production agriculture.

The workshop will also include real-world discussions with Pennsylvania’s innovative beginning farmers from a variety of backgrounds and enterprises.

Hear from the best.

Though young, many of these farmers are recognized as industry leaders, including this year’s winners of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award.

In addition to telling you how they got started in farming, these beginners will tell you how they are juggling farm and family pressures, benchmarks they have established for success, how to start a community supported agriculture operation, and how apprentice programs help you get a foothold in the industry.

Beyond inspiration, participants will receive practical knowledge and advice on how to select an enterprise that’s right for them, how to convince your banker you have what it takes, and how to scout out the market and developing a business plan.

Registration deadline.

The workshop will be held at the Holiday Inn in Grantville, Pa. from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. The cost of the workshop is $30 for an individual, $50 for a couple and $20 for a student. Registration is required by Feb. 12 and includes lunch.

Contact Pennsylvania Farm Link at 717-664-7077 for more information and a brochure.

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