Linda Geist

ELDON, Mo. – “Grow Your Farm” sessions for beginning farmers start Saturday, March 10, at the Eldon Career Center. University of Missouri Extension agricultural business specialist Patricia Barrett says the practical seminars and field days give attendees opportunities to learn and network.

MU Extension, through a grant from the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach to help veterans and socially disadvantaged people who want to farm, offers the program to increase agribusinesses and enterprise development. Karen Funkenbusch serves as director.  

The USDA 2501 grant helps beginning farmers and others evaluate and plan their farm enterprise. Participants attend a set of practical seminars and field days to learn from MU specialists, farmers and agribusiness operators. The grant comes at a critical time, Funkenbusch says. More than 300,000 veterans are expected to return to their rural Missouri roots in the next decade. “Many of them will seek work in agriculture,” she says.  

Session topics:

  • Identifying values and creating goals.
  • Walking the farm.
  • Assessing opportunities.
  • Rural legal issues.
  • Planning the farm.
  • Keeping track of finances.
  • Marketing farm products.
  • Business plans.

There is a reduced fee of $35 for veterans and those from socially disadvantaged groups. For more information, contact Patricia Barrett at 573-369-2394 or Register by March 3 by sending a check to University of Missouri Extension in Miller County, P.O. Box 20, Tuscumbia, MO 65082. Credit card payments are accepted also.

Eldon Career Center is at 112 S. Pine St., Eldon.

USDA helps fund this program as part of an $8.4 million set of grants to 24 states through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the 2501 Program.

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