Linda Geist

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – “Grow Your Farm” sessions for beginning farmers begin March 14 at the University of Missouri Extension Center in Adair County, Kirksville.

MU Extension, through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Advocacy and Outreach to help veterans and socially disadvantaged persons 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 enterprises. Participants attend a set of practical seminars and farm tours to learn from MU specialists, farmers and agribusiness operators. The grant comes at a critical time as 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,” said Funkenbusch.

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.

Sessions are 6-9 p.m. Dates and topics:

• March 14. MU Extension agricultural business specialist Darla Campbell speaks on “Identifying Values and Creating Goals.” Farm Service Agency and Natural Resource Conservation Service personnel discuss their programs.

• March 21. MU Extension natural resources engineer Kent Shannon gives a session on “Walking the Farm.”

• March 28. Campbell and a local producer share their expertise on “Assessing Opportunities.”

• April 4. MU Extension business specialists Charles Holland and Campbell cover “Planning the Farm.”

• April 11. Speaker to be determined based on class interest for the topic of “Marketing Farm Products.”

• April 18: MU Extension agricultural business specialist Joe Koenen discusses “Keeping Track of Finances.”

• April 25. Campbell discusses “Rural Legal Issues.”

• May 2. Class members give farmer presentations. A potluck dinner will be held.

• Farm visit dates and locations will be announced after the class begins.

There is a reduced fee of $35 for military veterans and those from socially disadvantaged groups. There is a $130 fee for two attendees from the same farm. Due to the grant, the cost is reduced from the usual price of $250.

For more information, contact Darla Campbell at or 660-457-3469. Register by March 12 by sending a check to University of Missouri Extension in Schuyler County, P.O. Box 310, Lancaster, MO 63548.

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