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Mentorship Program

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Production season application 
DEADLINE March 1, 2017!
Mentorship begins by March 15, 2017

Mentorship is one of the most important learning, networking, and support tools available to people who are starting a new farm enterprise. That’s why The Land Connection has offered this one-to-one sharing of wisdom and experience to its Farm Beginnings students for over a decade.

Now, The Land Connection is able to offer mentorship connections to more aspiring farmers than ever before. Mentorship is important for those starting small, diversified vegetable operations, for farmers looking to transition from conventional to organic grain production, and everything in between. Our network of over 45 farmer-mentors from across Illinois and Indiana covers all of these subject areas.

We accept applications twice a year. Both mentorship seasons are six months long.

  • Production Season: Applications  open January 1-March 1 with mentorship beginning no later than March 15
  • Planning Season: Applications open June 15-August 15 with mentorship beginning September 1

The mentorship program costs $350 for six months of farmer to farmer guidance. $300 of the fee goes directly to the mentor to compensate them for their expertise. The total price includes a $50 non-refundable application fee.

How does it work?

Step 1: Determine which mentorship season appeals to you most, production or planning.

Production season mentorships run from March 15 through September 15, covering the main production period for many crops. This mentorship is not limited to topics of production, any question and focus is available to the beginning farmer.

Planning season mentorships run from September 1 through March 1, occurring during the dormant season. This mentorship offers better access to mentors because farming activities are less pressing.

Step 2: Submit an online application and pay the non-refundable $50 application fee.

Step 3: Participate in a phone interview. Our Farmer Training Program Manager will contact you within a week to set up a phone interview. This is an opportunity for you to learn more about the program and for us to learn more about your needs.

Step 4: The Farmer Training Program Manager will work with you and our list of mentors to find the best match and will arrange a conference call to introduce you.  We will work diligently to find the most appropriate match, but please know that sometimes a perfect match is not possible.

Step 5: Complete the mentor agreement form and pay the remaining $300 fee.

Mentors are expected to visit your farm/property and host you at their farm at least once in the six month mentorship. Mentors also commit to communicating with you in person, by phone, or by electronic means a minimum of once a month. It is your responsibility to reach out to your mentor and arrange the in person meetings and to initiate the other contacts. It is the mentor’s responsibility to be open and responsive to your communications, and to guide you through your questions.

Our most successful matches have been ones where the beginning farmer took initiative and asked questions!

SCHOLARSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE. If this is of interest to you, contact info@thelandconnection.org.

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The Land Connection would like to thank FarmAid for their generous support in the expansion of our mentorship program.