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Central Illinois Farm Beginnings


What: a training program for those committed to creating a sustainable farm business

Why: to provide the best resources for starting your own farm business

Who: people who are ready to make a serious plan for starting a farm

Where: Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, Champaign, Illinois

When: All year, starting on October 22, 2016

Students in our 2015-2016 Farm Beginnings class, plus a few visiting presenters, pause for a picture in the orchard at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery.

Central Illinois Farm Beginnings (CIFB) provides farmer training through:

  • Nine full-day seminars on business and enterprise planning. Presenters include successful farmers, business people, and experts from the University of Illinois and USDA. The seminars are held at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery in Champaign, Illinois on Saturdays from October-March.
  • Mentorships that give every CIFB student the opportunity to engage in a season-long relationship with an experienced local farmer (March-October).
  • Field days and workshops offered through The Land Connection, which provide hands-on instruction in farmer-identified areas of need (March–November). These are available to CIFB students at a discount.

CIFB will help you:

  • Craft a detailed business plan for your farm, including your vision, mission, goals, and marketing and finance strategies
  • Tap into the knowledge of innovative and skilled farmers 
  • Access opportunities for land and equipment use 
  • Receive mentoring from a farmer engaged in a similar enterprise
  • Develop lasting relationships with many beginning and experienced farmers, plus a wide range of relevant professionals, including USDA specialists, farmers market managers, accountants, and attorneys

Interested in joining our next CIFB class? Visit our Apply Now page for more details. Registration opens May 1.

Want to learn more? Contact our farmer training program manager, Jeff Hake, at

Refund policy: The Central Illinois Farm Beginnings application fee is non-refundable. Tuition is refundable under special circumstances to be determined on an individual basis with the farmer training program manager.