2022 Farm Beginnings Class!!!

2022-2023 FARM BEGINNINGS Program will be different than anything before.
This year we are expanding our focus on hands on, on farm, & authentic growing experience.
After the first 5 Sessions members of the Farm Beginnings cohort have the option to continue on the next session and to also take up an internship on a farm to learn real skills.

Farm Beginnings 2022-2023

Applications are open!

March 5 Farm Dreams in Sioux Falls
Session 1

March 12 Farm Dreams in Spearfish
Session 1

April 23 Holistic Planning in Spearfish
Session 2

April 30th Holistic Planning in Spearfish
Session 2

June 11 Exploring Scale & Enterprises on Farm Tours
Session 3

July TB FB Farm Tour

July 16th Marketing your Farm & Enterprises
Session 4

Aug 6th FB Farm Tour

Aug 13th Farm Financials in Spearfish
Session 5

*Choose Your Own Adventure*
*Internship and Apprenticeships Are Available*
*Continuing on with the next few sessions if cohort members are not able to take on an internship or apprenticeship at this time.

Sept 17 Revisit Holistic Plan different scale
FB Session 6

Nov 4-5 or 11-12 Session 7 (dates depend on SD Local foods conference)
Celebration – Dinner Connect with farmers, funders, community
Presentations at Local Foods Conference


Farm Beginnings 2022-2023

What  is the course?

Farm Beginnings is a training program taught by local farmers and ranchers that provides participants with the support and education needed to launch a profitable and sustainable  enterprise. Beginners of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to apply and participants do not need to currently own land.

This is the 11th year DRA has offered the Farm Beginnings course in South Dakota. All sessions are led by established local farmers and ranchers and agriculture professionals. Classes provide real world skills in areas such as Whole Farm Planning, Financial Planning, Marketing, Business Planning, Connecting with Resources, and Connecting with Mentors. Additionally, students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of on-farm tours and skills sessions offered during the spring and summer, as well as engage in mentorships or apprenticeships with local farmers.

The course provides a solid base of knowledge around farm business planning as well as the opportunity to network with both beginning and established farmer mentors.

Who should take Farm Beginnings?

Anyone interested in developing or transitioning their enterprise. Participants can be of any age, do not need to own land, and prospective, beginning, part-time, and full-time farmers are welcome!

What kind of enterprises are participants engaged in?

Participants come with a wide array of sustainable farming interests and experience, including:

  • Cattle, hogs, goats, sheep, poultry, and other livestock
  • Dairy
  • Grazing
  • Vegetable and fruit production
  • High Tunnels
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and farmers markets
  • Crops and Hay
  • Fiber production
  • Specialty products like value-added foods
  • Flowers and herbs

The size and scale of production ranges from very small (just a few acres or a small urban plot) to large (hundreds or thousands of acres in production). Experience levels range from no experience farming to currently owning and operating their own farm.

Is there an on-farm component?

Yes, the course is closely connected to DRA’s Farmer Network, a group devoted to making connections between beginning and established farmers through resource sharing and education. Opportunities within the Farmer Network include access to on-farm internships/apprenticeships, farm tours and field days, land and equipment linking, and more.


Apply for the class



Have questions about the course, the application process, or would like to request an information packet?  Contact Us!

Matthew West
Organizer/Farm Beginnings Program Coordinator
Ph: 605.697.5204 ext. 280
Email: mwest@dakotarural.org

DRA’s Farm Beginnings program is a member of the The Farm Beginnings® Collaborative, a national alliance of independent regional groups of farmers and farmer-training support organizations working together to promote Farm Beginnings, a farmer training model that is community based and farmer led.


Help support this program by making a donation today!