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Stateline Farm Beginnings

How do I become a Beginning Farmer?

Sign up for Stateline Farm Beginnings®

Stateline Farm Beginnings is a farmer-led training and support program designed to help people plan and launch sustainable farm businesses. Since 2005, graduates of the program have launched more than 60 new sustainable farms in our region! 

  • Tap into the knowledge of some of the most innovative and skilled farmers in the Midwest.
  • Develop lifelong friendships and networks with other beginning farmers.
  • Learn critical farm management skills such as creative financing and innovative marketing.
  • Receive mentoring from a farmer engaged in a similar enterprise.
  • See sustainable farming practices being used on real farms under a variety of conditions.
  • Learn to view a farm as an interconnected system, determining goals and farming practices.
  • Access opportunities for land and equipment use and/or rental.
  • Craft a tailor-made farming/business plan.

The three components of Stateline Farm Beginnings: 

Farmer led coursework, on-farm workshops, and one-on-one advising
  • Winter course (October to March): ten business planning sessions from that focus on goal-setting and planning for profit.
  • Training events (April to October): monthly CRAFT field day workshops at sustainable farms in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.
  • Advising from a successful sustainable farmer in your field of interest. Advising arrangements are flexible, taking employment and family situations into account. Students may or may not be paid, depending on the agreement between the adviser and advisee.

Not ready to start your farm business yet but want to get involved in a farmer network now?

Consider joining CRAFT. CRAFT members get first notification when the application period begins each July.

For more information on our program, or to receive notifications about future Stateline Farm Beginnings courses, contact Sheri Doyel, Program Facilitator, at 815-389-8455 or email her at