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Central Illinois Farm Beginnings

What: a farmer-led program for those with a strong commitment to creating a sustainable farm business

Why: to prepare you to start your own farm business

Who: people who have been thinking of starting their own farm and are ready to make a serious plan

Where: Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery, Champaign, Illinois

When: All year, starting on October 17, 2015


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

  • Nine full-day seminars that focus on intensive business and enterprise planning. Presenters include many successful farmers and business people, as well as University of Illinois and USDA experts. The seminars are held on-site at Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery in Champaign, Illinois Saturdays from October-March.
  • Field days and workshops offered through The Land Connection and the Central Illinois Sustainable Farming Network, which provide hands-on instruction in farmer-identified areas of need (March–November).
  • Mentorships in which every CIFB participant has the opportunity to engage in a customized season-long relationship with an experienced local farmer (May-September).

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 relationships with many beginning and experienced farmers, plus a wide range of professionals that support small-scale local farmers, 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 June 1.

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.