Our Farmer-to-Farmer Mentoring Program pairs experienced organic farmers with farmers who are new to organic farming. This 1-to-1 guidance helps new farmers understand organic practices and encourages their success.
The 2015 Mentoring Program runs from December 2014 to February 2016 – a bit more than one year. The program includes attendance to the 2015 and 2016 MOSES Organic Farming Conference, and a pre-conference Organic University course Feb. 2015.
Interested in applying for the 2015 growing season? Fill out an application below and the Mentoring Program Coordinator will be in touch with you.
Meeting the need for more organic farmers
Demand for organic products is greater than current production. More organic farmers are needed. However, farmers can find it overwhelming to understand the regulations and best organic practices to follow on their farm. Today’s successful organic farmers reached this point by helping each other improve their operations. But, finding an experienced organic farmer isn’t easy when organic accounts for less than 4% of agricultural production in the United States. The MOSES Farmer-to-Farmer Mentoring Program makes these farmer connections, and facilitates sharing of information, with the goal of building strong organic communities throughout our region.
How the Mentoring Program works
Mentorships are available in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, North Dakota and South Dakota. The program encourages the success of new organic farmers by providing guidance as they modify their operations to meet organic standards. Mentors share practical information about organic farming methods and USDA regulations, offering insights that come from years of experience.
This program is different from internship programs; the mentored farmer is not required to help on the mentor’s farm, unless both feel this would be beneficial. Instead, the mentor visits the mentored farmer twice in the year, and is available to answer questions by phone and email. Mentored farmers also may visit the mentor’s farm. The two work together to tailor the mentorship for their situations.
Formal education component
The mentored farmer and the mentor both receive one free registration at both the start and the end of the mentorship to the MOSES Organic Farming Conference, the country’s premier education and networking event about organic agriculture. Both also receive free registration to one day-long course in the pre-conference Organic University at the beginning of the mentorship. They also receive updates during the program year regarding other organic educational opportunities, such as field days and workshops. In addition, program participants can contact the MOSES Organic Specialists at any time of the year to ask specific farming or certification questions.
Program requirements for Mentors
We try to match mentors with a new farmer located as close as possible to the mentor’s farm. We also pair farmers by specialty. Mentors will receive a stipend for participation in the program. Additional requirements are listed on the application form.
Program requirements for Mentored Farmers
Applicants must have been farming for at least one year. We have found that farmers at this stage have more experience with basic farming issues, and know where they need guidance. Mentored farmers pay $200 after they are accepted to participate in the program. Not all applications are accepted.
Questions about the Farmer-to-Farmer Mentoring Program?
Contact Harriet Behar,
Mentoring Program Coordinator
Home Office: 608-872-2164