National Farmers Union (NFU) is pleased to announce the 10 participants selected for NFU’s new Beginning Farmer Institute. Applicants who will participate in the inaugural institute are Erin Schneider of Wisconsin, Tess Brown-Lavoie of Rhode Island, Jeff and Deb Eschmeyer of Ohio, Aeric and Rex Reilly of Montana, Joseph and Ida DeFrancesco of Connecticut; and Barbara Marty and Justin Fehringer of Colorado. 

“Today’s farmers face a wide array of challenges,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The Beginning Farmer Institute will provide these participants with a better working knowledge of the tools available to help them succeed.”

Institute participants will learn about financial planning, farm management, and farmer-owned cooperatives. In addition, they will help determine the agenda based on what they have identified as important on their farm. Topics include marketing, understanding U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, renewable energy, recording keeping or understanding the local food system.   

“We see farming as both a way of life and a business. Farming is a career and a profession that demands the most of people,” said Johnson. “Farmers are entrepreneurs, conservationists, mechanics, managers, and the muscle it takes to operate a farm around the clock, month after month. They literally grow our nation’s food, fuel, and fiber from the ground up.”

The selected individuals range from cattle ranchers and grain farmers to those growing for CSA and farmers markets across the country. The program is sponsored in part by Farm Credit, United Soybean Board, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, and the NFU Foundation.