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Land Connection Developed Resources

Lender of First Opportunity: FSA Programs for Beginning and Non-Commodity Crop Farmers

Past Farm Finances Webinar Series

Resources for growers of specialty and organic grains

General information - small grains


Small Grain Production Manual from University of California 

Small Grain Production Guide from North Carolina State University

Growing Grains on a Small Farm from Oregon State University

USDA Alternative Farming Systems Information Center

Research at The Rodale Institute

General information - organic grains

Organic Risk Management, University of Minnesota

Iowa State University Ag Decision Maker

National Organic Program

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, providing prices for organic grain crops

The Midwest Cover Crop Council Decision Tool

For more, download the documents attached at the bottom of this page.

Resources for sustainable entrepreneurial farm businesses


Ag Risk and Farm Management Education Library

This Library organizes thousands of resources and docs to help you quickly find the information you need on risk management, marketing, financial management and more.

Agriculture and Tourism Partners of Illinois

ATPI is a non-profit association representing agriculture and tourism entities in Illinois. ATPI’s mission is "to encourage, foster, support, and stimulate tourism development, especially agritourism, in Illinois through support of existing business and development of new businesses."


ATTRA is the best place to start looking for information you need, with incredibly useful documents, a bank of internship opportunities, webinars, and even an 800 number to “Ask an Ag Expert.”  ATTRA stands for Appropriate Technology Transfer to Rural Areas, which is probably why the government has funded it all these years.

Beginning Farmers

Fabulous site with tons of great resources for everything from business planning, to finding farmland, to information on specific farm enterprises from mushrooms to goats to chickens.

Central Illinois Sustainable Farming Network

CISFN promotes the development of local food systems in Central Illinois through farmer support and training. Network members are committed to sustainable farming and are willing to share knowledge and participate in learning opportunities. Members are able to attend workshops and field days for free.

Cornell Small Farms Program

Even though this site is focused on New York State, almost everything on it is also applicable to Midwest farmers.  Check it out for news,  projects, and resources.  And don’t miss their sister site for new farmers:

The Edible Economy Project

The Edible Economy Project is a grassroots group in central Illinois that is building a viable local food system in Illinois.  Their first projects are on-farm food hubs and a coop grocery story featuring local foods.

Family Farmed

Some food safety resources, but mainly for consumers. The organization puts on a big conference in Chicago every March.

Farm Commons

Farm Commons provides business legal services to farmers, creates useful legal education resources, and works with attorneys to reach community-based farmers around the country.

Farmigo, Local Dirt, Local Orbit and others 

These online farmer-buyer matching services may help when you have a surplus of something, but should probably not be your main marketing outlet. The sites do have some useful information and tools.


This young farmer association provides avant-garde farmer resources and information, including an almanac,blogstream, DVDs, events, workshops, art projects and more.

Illinois Department of Agriculture

Provides information and some financial assistance through programs such as Illinois Specialty Crop grants and cost-share for Organic certification through USDA.

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Small business information available at Entrepreneurship and Small Business.

Illinois Direct Farm Business

Developed by Bryan Endres, a U of I professor and attorney, this is a great place to find Illinois-specific legal information of critical importance to small farms and direct marketers.  A new section has resources that address the unique legal concerns of CSA farms, such as worker-share agreements, volunteer waivers, etc.

Illinois Small Farms

Illinois Small Farms is a U of I Extension site that provides information for small-scale farmers and those who work with them. It serves commercial small farmers as well as the small acreage landowner.

Illinois Stewardship Alliance

ISA promotes ecologically sustainable, economically viable, socially just food systems through policy development, advocacy and education.

Illinois Value-Added Rural Development Center

IVARDC seeks to improve the incomes of agricultural producers and small business owners and expand employment opportunities in rural Illinois by capturing more value-added dollars in their operations.

They have a page listing Illinois CSAs, but it’s very out of date.

Kiva Zip

Kiva Zip makes 0% interest loans through crowd-sourced funds for small- and medium-sized businesses that fit their criteria of doing "social good".

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

This site has a wealth of resources for sustainable and organic producers focused on these areas: ecological systems researchmarketing and food systems researchpolicy research and cross-cutting research that bridges all areas (water, energy, soil and alternative farming systems).

Michael Fields Ag Institute

This organization provides crop and soil research, food and farm education, public policy, and more.

Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)

MOSES is often a “one stop shop” for your farming questions and needs.  Among many other services, they provide Fact Sheets, a resource directory, guidebooks, Farm Finance and other resources, mentoring programs, field days, policy and media resources, land-linking, tree fruit network, season extension information . . . and the best of all conferences, The Organic Conference, which takes place the third week of February.

Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA)

This site provides a wealth of food and farm resources, plus news and events concerning sustainable and organic agriculture.

National Good Food Network

Part of the Wallace Center, the National Good Food Network works to bring together producers, buyers, distributors, advocates, investors and funders – in order to scale up good food sourcing and access.  The site has good food hub information and resources.

National Young Farmers Coalition

This group provides support and information on sustainable farming practices, land access, and community building so that farming remains a desirable and profitable career.

Practical Farmers of Iowa

Practical Farmers supports profitable, ecologically sound, and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture through farmer-led investigation and information sharing. You don’t have to live in Iowa to join and participate in their programs assisting farmers with both production and marketing needs.

Pollination Guidelines for Small Farms

Rachel Coventry and Maggie Watcher conducted a two-year study on pollination and single varietal honey. They published their findings in this guide booklet to help reach other small-scale honey producers. 

Routes to Farm

Routes to Farm is a collaborative effort to make resources available to farmers who are launching or growing their farm businesses in the Chicago foodshed. 

Second Cup Media

Second Cup Media helps farmers bridge the gap between technology and relationships. We offer workshops, coaching sessions, and retreats to groups and individuals looking for help with their online presence and marketing strategy.


An investor group that provides debt and equity financing to businesses "focused on the importance of building community wealth through a healthier local food chain" in the greater Chicago area, including all of Illinois.

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

SARE has a wealth of educational materials, and runs competitive grant programs that provide funds for farmer/rancher (and other) projects.   You can also search their database to find result from other farmers’ projects, e.g. blueprints for tools and buildings, season extension information, even how to transform your diesel tractor to solar power.

Illinois is in the North Central Region, and NCR SARE offers grants and educational opportunities for producers, scientists, educators, institutions, organizations and others exploring sustainable agriculture.

Spence Farm Foundation

Spence Farm Foundation, located in Fairbury, IL is teaching the art, history and practice of sustainable small family farming.  Check out their workshops, field days, and Harvest fundraiser every September. They have facilitated two cooperative marketing and educational groups, Stewards of the Land, and Legacy of the Land.

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service – Farmers Markets and Local Food Marketing

This site provides information and resources on direct-to-consumer marketing, including where to find a farmers’ market; how to start a farmers’ market; and funding opportunities.

USDA Alternative Farming Systems Information Center

A USDA website with information related to all aspects of sustainable farming. The AFSIC specializes in identifying resources about sustainable food systems and practices in support of USDA's effort to ensure a sustainable future for agriculture and farmers.

USDA National Organic Program

The National Organic Program (NOP) develops, implements, and administers national production, handling, and labeling standards for organic agricultural products. The NOP also accredits the certifying agents who inspect organic production and handling operations to certify that they meet USDA standards.

University of IllinoisAgroecology/Sustainable Agriculture Program (ASAP)

ASAP's programs and resources help farmers, students, and society at large understand the additional economic and ecosystem benefits that come with sustainable and organic agriculture.

U of I Extension, Small Farms and Local Foods for Livingston, McLean, andWoodford Counties

Provides many resources including an events calendar, extension publications, news releases, and features. There are similar sites for other Illinois counties.

Women, Food & Ag Network

WFAN's mission is to link and empower women to build food systems and communities that are healthy, just, sustainable, and that promote environmental integrity.