Business planning and mentorship for those who are ready to farm
Central Illinois Farm Beginnings is a year-long program dedicated to helping you get your farm dream off to a strong start. Through nine winter seminars on business planning and a mentorship with an expert farmer in the region, students leave the course ready to tackle the challenges of entrepreneurial farming in the Midwest with a strategic plan and the support of our extensive network of successful farmers.
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 and Creamery in Champaign, Illinois on 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 that give every CIFB participant the opportunity to engage in a season-long relationship with an experienced local farmer (March-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 lasting relationships with many beginning and experienced farmers, plus a wide range of relevant professionals, including USDA specialists, farmers market managers, accountants, and attorneys
Central Illinois and Western Indiana
Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery
4410 N. Lincoln Ave.
Champaign, IL 61822
Runs from October to September, applications open from April to October