With food stores and markets being limited with the amount of products available for consumers due to the pandemic, the need for farmers is more vital than ever. Luckily, the Foundation for Agricultural and Rural Resource Management and Sustainability is helping those that want to become a farmer meet their dreams.
Farm Dreams is a free two-part program designed by FARRMS that will take place on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, the main goal of the program is to help potential farmers realize their goals of being a farmer and help them achieve their goals.
“Farm Dreams is for anyone who has thought about starting a farm and wondered if they’re ready to start,” Stephanie Blumhagen, the executive director of FARRMS, said. “It's designed to help you decide if you’re ready to start creating that business plan as a farmer.”
While the program is typically based with in-person lectures, due to the pandemic it will be held online for the first time ever. Some people may see the loss of in-person classes to be a disadvantage, but Blumhagen said they are seeing it as a big plus for farmers that may have had to drive across the state to get to the location.
“Before, farmers would have to drive three hours or more to attend our classes and now they can do that from the comfort of their living room,” she said.
After signing up for the course, participants will be able to watch a video about farming and complete an assessment quiz to help participants get to the realization of knowing if they fully have what it takes to be a farmer. Following those two projects, participants will create something that shows their specific farm dream whether it's by writing it out, drawing, or recording their dream, it will help the instructors, and the participants, know what they want for a dream.
Blumhagen discussed some of the things participants will be doing during the sessions.
“In the workshops they will meet others that are also creating their farm dreams who have gone through the homework and get to know each other. They will discuss what their farm dreams are, we’ll talk about goal setting and then we’re bringing in more experienced farmers,” she said.
“We’re going to have a farmer talk about the realities of farming and we’ll have farmers talk about successes and challenges that they experience day-to-day as farmers and we will talk about how to connect to resources that can help you bring your farm dreams to life,” Blumhagen added.
One of the perks of taking the course is the fact that participants will actually learn about the life of a farmer from authentic North Dakota farmers themselves.
“We’re farmer led. Every workshop, every course that we offer, we bring in North Dakota farmers who are living and doing it every day,” Blumhagen said. “This isn’t going to be a dry theory or some teacher on a podium telling you, this is real farmers who are experiencing this every day. Sharing their real life experiences and they are authentic North Dakota farmers, they are your friends and neighbors.”
FARRMS will also give participants resources to start their farms, including talking to agriculture professors, including some that teach at Dickinson State University.
Blumhagen mentioned what it is like to be able to still be able to continue this course amidst the pandemic.
“It’s a huge relief for me,” she said. “I’m just thrilled to be able to continue offering this to North Dakota farmers, I feel like it’s needed more than ever with increased interest in local foods. It’s needed much more than ever right now.”
For more information on the project, or to register for the event, log onto farrms.org, visit the FARRMS Facebook page, or call 701-867-2921.