MOFGA Farm Beginnings is a farmer-led program to help guide those with a strong commitment to creating a sustainable farm business achieve their goals. Designed for farmers with at least one year of production experience, this series of intensive workshops will help you to develop a whole farm plan through realistic goal setting, reflection, and assessment of your resources, skills, and markets – and gives you the business planning tools necessary to successfully implement your plan. The course was originally developed to support participants in the MOFGA Journeyperson Program but enrollment is open to any farm looking to apply whole farm planning and financial management tools to their operation.
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2016-2017 Course Schedule
The 2016-2017 Farm Beginnings course will consist of 6 six-hour sessions, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Sundays from mid-October through early March, a number of shorter workshops at the January Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta, and a Sunday/Monday "Farm Smarter, Not Harder" session with Richard Wiswall of "The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook" in mid-February. Each of the six-hour sessions is farmer-led and professionally facilitated with course material covered through a combination of classroom presentations, group discussions, guest speakers and panels, as well as guided readings and exercises.
This year the course will be offered in two locations: at MOFGA in Unity, and at Common Ground on The Town at 769 Congress St. in Portland. Up to three of the sessions will take place jointly in Unity. The 2016-2017 schedule of dates and session topics can be found here.
MOFGA Farm Beginnings will help you to:
Craft a detailed action plan for your farm; including your vision, personal goals, marketing plan, enterprises and financing goals.
Learn critical farm management skills such as recordkeeping, tax preparation, marketing and enterprise development.
- Meet and learn from innovative, local farming practitioners
. Develop relationships with other new and experienced farmers, plus a wide range of agricultural service providers that support farmers.
- Learn how to access resources and programs that can help bring your farm vision to fruition.
- Course tuition is $750 per farm (all farm partners are strongly encouraged to attend)
- Numerous scholarships are available – please note interest on your application
- Current MOFGA Journeypeople receive a $600 stipend toward course tuition
- Past course graduates may sign up to take a single class at any time for $25 per class
- Participation is limited to 15 farms per meeting site
- Application period ends Friday, September 30th
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MOFGA is a member of the Farm Beginnings Collaborative. The Farm Beginnings Collaborative is a national alliance of independent regional groups of farmers and farmer-training support organizations working together to support and promote Farm Beginnings, a farmer training model that is farmer led, community based and rooted in sustainable principles. This year’s course is offered in partnership with the Maine Farmland Trust.