Heartland Farm Beginnings®

Applications for the next cohort will open in summer 2021.

What is Farm Beginnings®?

This year-long farmer-led training and support program is designed to help early career farmers, committed to creating a sustainable farm business, achieve their goals.

The intensive, nine-part workshop series will enable farmers, with at least one year of production experience, to develop a whole farm plan through realistic goal setting, financial management, and assessment of resources, skills, and markets. Early career farmers will also receive the business planning tools necessary to successfully implement their plan.

The 2020-2021 course was held online and ended in March 2021. Review the Program Information document for all the details about the previous course.

Through Farm Beginnings®, participants will:

  • Learn critical holistic farm management skills such as creative financing and innovative marketing strategies
  • Craft a tailor-made farm business plan
  • Join a vibrant network of local family farms
  • Receive one-on-one feedback from a farmer engaged in a similar enterprise

“We wouldn’t be where we are without the beginning farmer program, OEFFA, or our mentor farm and cannot imagine running a successful farm without having the education and resources we have.” — 2018-2019 Heartland Farm Beginnings® cohort participant

Who Can Benefit from the Program?

The program is applicable to early career farmers managing a diversity of operations that focus on sustainable and organic production. Individuals should be currently farming (1-10 years experience) or have experience working on farms and are in the process of planning a farm business. If you have questions about whether you are ready for this course, or if it is a good fit for your learning needs, please contact the Begin Farming Program Coordinator.

What Can I Expect?

Heartland Farm Beginnings® includes:

  • Winter Online Course (November 2020-March 2021): Nine live virtual interactive workshops featuring farmer and qualified professional speakers, nine asychronous lectures, and regular optional office hours. Download the Program Information guide for specific dates and times.
  • Growing Season Learning Plan (March 2021-November 2021): Personalized learning and action plan to help you continue education after the course, and stay on track to successfully achieve your goals
  • One-on-One Mentoring (March 2021-November 2021): Direct access to an experienced, sustainable farmer in your field of interest, who will provide you with personalized feedback on your farm business plan, or production and technical assistance.
  • OEFFA Family Farm Membership ($50 value), 2021 Conference Registration (up to $330 value), print and virtual materials.

What Does It Cost?

Heartland Farm Beginnings tuition is $1,000 ($1,200 for applications received after September 1, 2020) for up to two individuals from the same farm business working on the same business plan. Payment plans and partial scholarships of up to $500 are available.

How Can I Apply?

Applications are now closed. The next cohort will begin in fall 2021. Sign up below to be notified when applications open in summer 2021.

The Farm Beginnings Collaborative (FBC) is a national alliance of regional groups who are offering Farm Beginnings® programs in 13 states. OEFFA’s Heartland Farm Beginnings® is the first offered in Ohio. According to survey data from member organizations, these programs have graduated hundreds of farmers, with 71 percent of graduates still farming in 2016.

This program is supported by NIFA USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (2019-49400-30033).

Photo: Our Harvest Cooperative

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
41 Croswell Rd.
Columbus OH 43214


OEFFA:(614) 421-2022 (614) 421-2022
OEFFA Certification:(614) 262-2022 (614) 262-2022