Lake Superior Farm Beginnings
Launching the Next
Generation of Farmers

6th Annual LSFB program 2013-14

The Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association in partnership with the Land
Stewardship Project (LSP) is offering its sixth annual 2013-2014 Lake Superior Farm
Beginnings program starting this fall. Applications materials are available by contacting
Bradley at or 218.834.0846.

Lake Superior Farm Beginnings (LSFB) is a program of the Land Stewardship Project, with
support from the Sustainable Farming Association, supported by the national Farm
Beginnings Collaborative. LSFB provides opportunities for beginning and transitioning
farmers to learn firsthand about value clarification and goal setting, whole farm planning,
business plan development, marketing and distribution, financial management and low-cost,
sustainable farming methods. LSFB provides 90 hours of training and hands-on learning
opportunities in the form of classroom sessions, farm tours and skill sessions. It is a year-
long training and support effort. Farmers and other agricultural professionals are the primary
presenters, mentors and steering committee members. Participants can come from a variety
of backgrounds and are interested in a broad spectrum of farming enterprises: beef, dairy,
hogs, meat and dairy goats, sheep, poultry, wholesale vegetables, Community Supported
Agriculture, organic grains, cut-flowers, cheese, maple syrup and more.

LSFB participants will:
•       Tap the knowledge of some of the most innovative and skilled farmers operating in the
Lake Superior region.
•        Develop lifelong friendships and networks with other beginning and experienced
•        Learn critical farm management skills such as creative financing, planning for profit,
budgeting, and innovative marketing strategies.
•        See sustainable farming practices being used on real farms under a variety of
•        Learn to view a farm as an interconnected system and learn how goals determine
farming practices.
•        Craft a tailor-made strategic farm business plan.


How successful is Farm Beginnings?
More than 600 people have completed the course offered through the Farm Beginnings
Collaborative partners. In the Lake Superior region alone, over 70 farm units (individuals
and families) have graduated. Of the 600 graduates, over 60% are farming. Over 6,000
acres of land is owned, rented or otherwise farmed by graduates. 59% of graduates have a
business plan and 98% of graduates do financial planning. 66% of graduates who are
beginning farming say their net farm income has increased an average of $12,500 since
taking Farm Beginnings. 91% of graduates use conservation practices.

What are the dates for this year’s class?
Classroom sessions begin late October 2013 and run every couple weeks until April 2014
with a longer break around the holidays. Classes, 9 in total, occur on Saturdays and run for
6 hours. Classes are scheduled to take place in rural Esko, MN at the Thompson Town Hall.
WI residents interested in Farm Beginnings should feel encouraged to attend the MN classes
(there is no difference in the instruction when in MN or WI, just the location is different to
help reach a broader spread of people).

The dates of this year’s program are:

•        Saturday, November 2, 2013 – 10 am to 4 pm
•        Saturday, November 16, 2013 – 10 am to 4 pm
•        Saturday, November 30, 2013 – 10 am to 4 pm
•        Saturday, February 8, 2014 – 10 am to 4 pm
•        Saturday, February 22, 2014 – 10 am to 4 pm
•        Saturday, March 8, 2014 – 10 am to 4 pm
•        Saturday, March 22, 2014 – 10 am to 4 pm
•        Saturday, April 5, 2014 – 10 am to 4 pm
•        Saturday, October 4, 2014 – 10 am to 4 pm
•        May through September 2013 - 10  Summer Field Sessions on Farms Throughout the
Region (Dates to be Determined)

Who are the speakers and what are the topics?
Lake Superior Farm Beginnings is farmer-taught by successful, innovative farmers who are
engaged in a variety of farm enterprises throughout northeastern Minnesota and
northwestern Wisconsin. In addition, various agricultural professionals and other business
constituents are resources. Farm Beginnings topics include: value clarification, goal setting,
Whole Farm Planning, Holistic Management, marketing, financial planning, organization
structure and low-cost sustainable farm methods.

When is the application due?
Applications are due October 1, 2013. Scholarship applications are due September 15,
2013.  Space is limited. Only 20 participants can enroll. We encourage applicants to register

Are scholarships available? How do I apply for them?
A limited number of scholarships are available and are needs-based. Scholarship
applications will be included in the class registration package which will be mailed to
interested LSFB participants. To apply for a scholarship, you will be required to provide: 1) a
narrative of your financial need, passion and capacity for farming, and willingness to give
back to the program; 2) a Net-Worth Statement describing your income, expenses, assets
and liabilities; and 3) a copy of your most recent tax return.  Scholarship applications are
due September 15, 2013.

Is program registration for a single person only?
No. A participant registration includes those in the immediate farm family or enterprise
(spouses or farm business partners).

How much does the course cost and is there a deposit?
The LSFB course costs $1,100. You must send a $100 non-refundable check with your
application to hold your place in the class. It is not necessary to pay all at once. You can
make a payment schedule. Full payment is due at the last classroom session in 2014.

Is the course strictly for organic agriculture?
No. Lake Superior Farm Beginnings presents a process for making decisions about
alternative farming strategies including, but not limited to, direct marketing, grass-based
farming and organic methods. The program features established, successful farmers as
teachers who share their experiences. LSFB focuses on helping participants make the right
choice for their goals.

Do you have to be a beginning farmer to take the class?
No. The decision-making process and planning tools of the class are as useful to
established farmers as they are to people wanting to begin farming. As a matter of fact,
many people who have gone through the class have been farming on the side for a number
of years and use the class to help them make the step into full time farming or to transition
into other alternative farming strategies.

To learn more about current and future Farm Beginnings program contact Farm
Beginnings coordinator Cree Bradley: or call (218)
Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association
310 Carlton Avenue, PO Box 307 - Carlton, MN - 218.393.3276 -
© 2010 LS-SFA