A new online program this winter is available this winter for beginning farmers and agricultural producers transitioning to sustainable ag practices. .

The Farm Beginnings course, held from late January through early early April, will help participants to learn more about goal setting, whole farm planning, business plan development, financial management, marketing practices, and natural resource stewardship.

The Cando, N.D.-based Northern Plains Resource Conservation and Development Council has partnered with the Foundation for Agriculture, Rural Resources Management and Sustainability or FARRMS) to offer the course.

Registration is $25 per student, and tuition is $500 per farm. Scholarships are available. For more information and to register, visit www.farrms.org/succeed.

According to organizers:

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The "unique farmer-led, community-based program (is) rooted in sustainable farming. Students connect with experienced North Dakota growers who are implementing the sustainable practices taught throughout the course. The course includes videos, business planning tools, live online class discussions, virtual farm tours and connections to local resources such as financing, service providers, and peer networks.

"Students will complete a sustainable business plan for their own farm enterprise by the end of the course. Farm beginnings is a certified borrower training course for USDA Farm Service Agency and graduates are eligible for FSA loans."

The Northern Plains Resource Conservation and Development Council, founded in 1991, is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to “build partnerships which promote leadership development and the wise use of natural resources, resulting in a desirable quality of life for the residents of northeastern North Dakota.” The Council received funding from a USDA Rural Development grant to help pay for the Farm Beginnings classes.

FARRMS provides educational programs and support to grow sustainable agriculture and local food systems in North Dakota.