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Help Wanted: More Farmers -- Will Train

August 7, 2007

Sign-up is underway for a program designed to get more Minnesotans into farming. Farm Beginnings spokeswoman Amy Bacigalupo explains it involves classes and training for those interested in working the land. She says consumers are looking for sources of locally produced food, to make sure their food is fresh and their food dollars stay in the community.

"There is a demand for food that's produced locally. And, there are consumers who want to see more locally-produced foods. And, we need farmers to do that."

Bacigalupo believes farming is a rewarding profession. But, it isn't easy.

"Farming can be a good career, if it helps you achieve the values that you feel are important, such as an ethic for land, working with your family, working with your community. It is an incredibly difficult, challenging career, because, not only are you a business person, but you also need to know about land, about soil, about crops, about livestock."

The program, started in Minnesota, is now active in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois and North Dakota. It's designed for those who want to get into the profession, and those who want to switch production methods, such as to organic farming.

The sign-up period runs through the end of the month, and classes begin in the fall in Montevideo and La Crosse. And, there are scholarships available. Details are available online at

Jim Wishner/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - MN