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Beginning Farmer Programs

Howdy, all--

In response to Tom Johnson's query about new and beginning farmer 
programs, here's some Wisconsin 

Learn more about the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy Farmers on 
CIAS's World Wide Web site:


Contact Dick Cates for more information:  rlcates@facstaff.wisc.edu

SBDF is a formal program sponsored by a number of UW units,
GrassWorks, Inc., the state department of ag, and more.  It meshes
with the UW-Madison College of Ag's Farm and Industry Short Course,
and is an integrated module to allow short course students to
"specialize" in management intensive rotational grazing.  SBDF
provides financial support for tuition, internship opportunities,
mentoring by graziers and faculty, field trips, networking (via
conference, Internet, field days), and potential for future support
and training.  Students prepare a startup biz plan as one of their
projects.  WSBDF is supported in part by a NC Region SARE grant.

CIAS is working with a coalition of farmers, organizations, UW and
UW-Extension folks, to develop a ***!new!*** short course for
small/medium vegetable producers...even as I pour these pixels on
your screen! I'll share more with y'all as we pull our information
piece together this week and next.  We'll be recruiting in the fall.
The course will also provide training, educational, mentoring,
networking, and other support.  

Wisconsin's ag dept has a comprehensive farm entry-exit
program:  contact Wisconsin Farm Link Service, Gwen Garvey,
coordinator, (608) 224-5049.  The Farm Link program helps people
assess their situation, set goals and develop a plan, gather
information and identify options, match with other farmers, and seek
support in their farm transfer.  Transfer teams consisting of folks
with specialized experience and knowledge serve three areas of the
state and work with Farm Link.  Farm Link also works within the
Farmer Assistance Program.  Gwen can tell you more.  This program was 
created by a broad coalition of organizations, UW folks, policy 
makers, farmers, and others interested in entry-exit issues.

Wisconsin's farmer-to-farmer networks have traditionally been a 
source of expertise and mentoring for new farmers.  For information, 
see our Web site:


For information on a CIAS-sponsored study on farmer career paths in 
Wisconsin and New Zealand, point your browser to:


For information on sharemilking as a dairy farming entry strategy:


In 1993, we hosted a workshop at the Ag Technology and Family Farm
Institute with folks from Manitoba's Family Farm Transfer Program,
which I recall having been sponsored by a Crown bank in partnership
with the provincial ag department...I wonder if Donna Hastings or
any of the program's other folks are listening in to supply more

For leads to publications on structural change in Wisconsin 
agriculture, including entry-exit issues and program development:


Hope this helps, Tom.  These efforts all came out of the recognition
that financial support alone will not be terribly effective.  Dink
me if you need further follow-up.


Michele Gale-Sinex, communications manager
Center for Integrated Ag Systems
UW-Madison College of Ag and Life Sciences
Voice: (608) 262-8018   FAX: (608) 265-3020
Othercide:  for five centuries the rainbow has 
been banned from America's sky.  --Eduardo Galeano