Farmer Network

Beginning & Established Farmers/Ranchers:  Join the Farmer Network!

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Beginning or established farmers and ranchers are invited to join the Farmer Network, a networking group that connects people to farm-related opportunities through resource-sharing and education.

Do you want to join in on opportunities at real farms to learn about things like high tunnel production, caring for lambs, milking goats, raising grass-fed cattle, running a CSA, or even processing chickens? Are you an experienced farmer who would like to help mentor a beginning farmer? Are you looking to work on a farm or hire a farm intern or employee? Do you just want to connect more with other farmers and ranchers in the region? Join DRA’s Farmer Network!

The Farmer Network is a networking group of Dakota Rural Action members that connects beginning and established farmers and ranchers to farm-related opportunities through resource-sharing and education.


Opportunities within the Farmer Network:

  • Connecting with regional farmers and ranchers
  • On-farm events such as tours, skills sessions, and other trainings
  • Information about on-site education opportunities, local internships and employment, and land and equipment linking resources.
  • Access to the Farmer Network handbook and the Farmer Network list serve
  • An opportunity to participate in the Farmer Network Committee

 

What does the Farmer Network Do?

The goal of the Farmer Network is to create a networked community of beginning and established farmers and ranchers through resource sharing opportunities and education.

The Farmer Network will host at least 6 farm tours or skills sessions this summer and will present multiple Winter Workshops on farm-related topics such as production, financials/record-keeping, and enterprise profitability. Check out our  2014 Farm Tours & Skills Sessions.

Additionally, the Farmer Network handbook is published once a year and spotlights mentor farmers along with any opportunities available on their farm or ranch. Beginning farmers are also listed with the resources they are seeking as they start their sustainable enterprise. The online list serve is active year round and circulates information about special events such as work days or short farm projects; farm opportunities like equipment or product sales; hiring of interns and employees; and even questions related to production.

The Farmer Network recently formed a member-led committee where beginning and established farmers come together to problem solve and connect with one another. This committee is currently pursuing campaigns for increasing land access for beginning farmers and boosting online resources for local producers

Who is part of the Farmer Network?

Currently there are over 100 Dakota Rural Action members in the Farmer Network. Members come from all across South Dakota as well as neighboring regions. Here is a map showing how members of the Farmer Network are located across the region:

Handbook Map 2
View Farmer Network in a larger map

Why has the Network been created?

Starting (and maintaining) a farm is a long and daunting task. DRA’s Farm Beginnings program offers a farmer and rancher led training that assists beginning farmers in launching their own sustainable enterprise. But one year of classes only goes so far. We are looking for ways to support beginning farmers in years 2-5 of their farm or ranch by creating a network of experienced, knowledgeable mentors who can help provide resources and learning opportunities. Additionally, this network serves as a way to connect like-minded established farmers to one another. We hope through the network to create a supportive community of regional producers.

How can I become a part of the Farmer Network?

To join the Farmer Network, you must be a member of Dakota Rural Action. Join Today and then fill out the forms for membership in the Network below.

Established/Mentor Farmer membership form

Beginning Farmer membership form

To find out more contact Heidi Kolbeck-Urlacher at 605.697.5204 ex. 220 or heidiku@dakotarural.org