Growing a New Generation of Illinois Fruit and Vegetable Farmers
The information below describes our new University of Illinois Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program. Our classes at Urbana and St. Charles are full for Year 1 (December 2012 –November 2013), but we are still taking applications for our southern Illinois location at the Dixon springs Agricultural Center near Simpson, IL. If you would like to apply for the southern Illinois program, please fill in the information below and click submit ... we will send you the application form. Our program will be repeated for two additional years, so if you are interested in attending at the Urbana or St. Charles locations in Year 2 (December 2013 - November 2014), feel free to fill out the form, and we’ll send you a link to the application and you can fill it out in advance.
Enrollment in similar courses offered in cooperation with the Illinois Migrant Council is managed separately ... contact them at 312-663-1522 or by email at email@example.com to inquire about openings.
Aspiring farmers, new growers with less than 5 years' experience, and commodity farmers interested in diversifying to include fruit or vegetable production are invited to apply for a new year-long training program. In the fall of 2012, the University of Illinois will begin a 3-year project funded by the USDA NIFA's Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program to increase the number of commercial fruit and vegetable farmers in Illinois. We will provide year-long programs of classroom and hands-on in-field instruction on essential skills and information so that new growers have the knowledge to be successful fruit or vegetable farmers. High school and community college agriculture teachers also are invited to apply. There is no registration fee for participants who complete this program.
- Increase the number of new farmers producing fruits and vegetables throughout Illinois and enhance the viability, profitability, and sustainability of new and beginning enterprises to meet increasing demand for local produce and contribute to local economies.
- In a parallel program, assist a specific target audience – seasonal Hispanic farm workers – in beginning viable, profitable, and sustainable small produce farms.
- Increase the expertise of university extension educators, high school and community college teachers, and educators in community organizations so they can better aid new farmers.
Programs will be offered in southern, central, and northern Illinois and will include ...
- land acquisition and transfer
- business planning
- legal issues
- farm safety
- food safety
- Farm to School
- equipment operation & safety
- transplant production
- high tunnel construction and operation
- soils and soil testing
- cover crops and tillage
- variety evaluations
- pest and disease scouting
- integrated pest management
- pesticide application
- pruning and thinning
- harvest practices
- postharvest handling
- conventional and organic production methods
- visits to established produce farms
- discussions with experienced farmers
- access to incubator plots
If you are or you know someone who is
a new commercial fruit or vegetable grower
interested in becoming a new fruit or vegetable grower
or a high school or community college teacher interested in more information