Beginning and Established Farmers: Join the Farmer Network!
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 in the region? Join DRA’s Farmer Network!
The Farmer Network is a networking group that connects beginning and established farmers to farm-related opportunities through resource-sharing and education.
Opportunities within the Farmer Network:
*Connecting with regional farmers
*On-farm events such as tours, skills sessions, and other trainings
*Information about on-farm education opportunities, local farm 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
*Online resource sharing forum – Farmer Network Forum
What does the Farmer Network Do?
The goal of the Farmer Network is to create a networked community of beginning and established farmers through resource sharing opportunities and education.
The Farmer Network will host 6-8 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 2012′s Summer 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. Beginning farmers are also listed with the resources they are seeking as they start their farm 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 farm 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 farmers.
Who is part of the Farmer Network?
Currently there are over 60 members of 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:
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-led training that assists beginning farmers in launching their own farm 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 enterprise by creating a network of experienced, knowledgeable farmer 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 farmers.
How can I become a part of the Farmer Network?
Established/Mentor Farmers: Established/Mentor Farmer membership form.
Beginnings Farmers: Beginning Farmer membership form.
To find out more contact Heidi Kolbeck-Urlacher at (605) 697-5204, firstname.lastname@example.org