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Purdue Extension Beginning Farmer Workshop and other Diversified Farming and Food Systems Information

According to the last U.S. Census of Agriculture (2017), almost half (46.4%) of the farms in Indiana are less than 50 acres. That small farm statistic is a bit higher in Whitley County, at 48%.

To assist the challenges of landowners that may want to start farming on a smaller scale, Purdue Extension will offer the online Beginning Farmer Workshop. During the series, January 13 – March 10, you’ll learn about addressing the realities of starting a farm by assessing your farming assets, defining realistic goals, and creating feasible plans to achieve your goals. The workshop includes 8 sessions held from 7:00- 8:30 pm EST. To learn more about the program, including registration and refund policies, visit Pre-registration is required with payment due by January 3, 2022, 11:59 pm EST.

In an effort to coordinate several initiatives of Purdue Extension to serve smaller and more diversified farms and farmers, we have now consolidated these efforts under one website “umbrella,” so to speak, so that visitors can access information in a one-stop-shop.

Purdue Extension has coined the name “Diversified Farming and Food Systems,” or DFFS for short, for this over-arching umbrella of initiatives. Access the website at: The site features five initiatives: Small Farms, Urban Agriculture, Organic Agriculture, Local Food, and Beginning Farmer.

The Small Farms program can be accessed directly at: An annual feature of the small farm program is the Indiana Small Farm Conference, set for March 3-4 in Danville, IN. The conference is a great way to learn what’s new and what’s next in production, marketing and other areas, as well as the networking opportunities with other small farmers.

Urban Agriculture is at: Urban agriculture involves utilizing urban sites for food production to help meet the growing demand for local food. It improves food access in some food insecure areas, and helps boost fruit and vegetable consumption. Community gardens are just one example of urban agriculture.

The Organic Agriculture resources may be accessed at: The program coordinates extension and collaborative research programs in organic agriculture in Indiana. Resources are concentrated on insect, weed, and disease management, along with related organic agriculture news and information.

The Local Food Program can be accessed directly at: They work collaboratively to create programming, provide educational materials and build a community of scholarship for local food system issues. Their creative partnerships are designed to engage leaders in community food systems, build local economies, deliver science-based outreach for Indiana, and build strong networks.

Beginning Farmers may find information at: Of course, beginning farmers are just as the name implies – farmers just starting out with little or no experience. Facing a steep learning curve, this audience benefits from many types of resources – farmer-to-farmer contacts, farm tours, agency contacts, Extension programs and resource libraries. The program described earlier is designed to get beginning farmers off to a great start.

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