Farmer Training Program in Illinois

Our friends at Angelic Organics Learning Center (AOLC) in Caledonia specialize in training and educating local food farmers across our region in practical farm business skills. One of their programs is a yearlong farm business course called Stateline Farm Beginnings (SFB).

SFB is broken into three sessions that begin in January and end in December of 2022. You start with business basics and end with a fully fleshed-out business plan ready to launch you into your farming career. Here is the breakdown:

  • Session 1 – Farm Dreams Intensive – This session helps you develop your farming vision, mission, and goals. You will also gain other valuable business skills such as marketing, farm profitability, and developing a farm proposal.
  • Session 2 – Skill Building Practicum – During the growing season, you are paired with an experienced local farmer to help refine your farm business skills while bundling in other on-farm, educational field days through Upper Midwest CRAFT.
  • Session 3 – Farm Business Intensive – This final session allows you to gain practical training on budgeting, pricing strategies, and financial statements and ends with you creating and presenting a complete farm business plan. 

AOLC’s Goli Ziolek and Ritchie Wai run the course, now in its 17th year, and bring extensive food and farming experience. Industry professionals also give live presentations on their areas of farm business expertise during the weekly classes.​​​​​​ 

“Our goal is to cultivate a diverse farm network of aspiring and beginning farmers, so they can achieve viable farm dreams and grow into the regional farm leaders of the future,” says Goli.

Having a good grip on the business side of your farm’s present and future is invaluable for your farmland search. Knowing the direction and essential elements of your farm business will make clear what kind of farmland location your are looking for. It can also help you answer questions like, “Should I lease or purchase?”, “How much land do I need?”, or “What location is most strategic to my markets?” This way, when a farmland opportunity does come up, you have the right planning and tools in place to make an educated decision.

October 31st is the deadline for enrollment. Consider this unique offering before it’s too late. You can find out more information or apply for the 2022 SFB course here.