Beginning Farmer Opportunities with National Farmers Union

Beginning Farmer Opportunities with National Farmers Union

NFU’s Beginning Farmer Institute

BFI develops leadership and farm management skills in beginning farmers and additionally encourages them to apply those abilities in their community organizations. Farmers Union employs educational sessions, business tools and professional speakers in a structured setting that includes on-farm experiences and tours of cooperatives.

Application deadline for the next class is April 30!

Learn more about BFI

NFU’s Beginning Farmer Forum

The NFU Beginning Farmer Forum is a community of farmers, ranchers, educators, policy makers, and the general public that share common knowledge and interest in helping beginning farmers and ranchers overcome the challenges to starting and sustaining a farming operation in the U.S. This community hopes to spread awareness about these challenges, provide insight into how they can be addressed at local, state and national policy levels, and share current resources and tools that benefit.

Visit the Beginning Farmer Forum

KBFC Supports You in Realizing Your Farming Dreams


Kansas Beginning Farmers Coalition engages and informs beginning farmers and ranchers through online resources.

We ENGAGE through

Online resources including this website, our Top 10 and Monthly Harvest e-newsletters, and the KBFC forum on Google Groups.


KBFC encourages producers to explore innovative production, management and finance strategies.


Bringing together farmers of all experience levels for tours and farm days–key sources of inspiration and knowledge transfer, and by providing informal mentoring opportunities.


KBFC empowers farmers and ranchers to seek solutions to our shared opportunities and challenges.


Establishing working groups to explore opportunities such as cooperative equipment sharing, LandLink programs, and group purchasing. And by advocating for state and national policies and programs that support beginning farmers.


Founded in 2012, KBFC is a statewide, grassroots (soon to be) not-for-profit organization working to engage, encourage, and empower beginning farmers of all ages.

The first ever KBFC state meeting was held in November 2012 and things really took off from there. Regular e-newsletters, Facebook page, and list serve help to keep farmers connected and allow for the opportunity to share information and ask questions. With support from Farm Aid we’ve offered farm tours and field days, a listserv and eNews, as well as advocacy training.


2018 Thinking Outside the Box Farm Tour Series


The ‘Thinking Outside the Box’ farm tour series spotlights farms doing things differently. Whether it’s reducing inputs and focusing on soil health in row crops; bringing diversification back to the farm; or exploring marketing opportunities that add value and allow the farmer to enhance market returns on their investment, you’ll be inspired to see new options.

IOWA BUS TOUR | July 16-17, 2018
Visit 3 farms with decades of experience leading the way in innovative production and marketing strategies.

Visit 6 farms producing & marketing directly to consumers.
From the Farm to the Fork!


Let's do this TOGETHER . . . Come GROW with us

Kansas Beginning Farmers Coalition is member-based and farmer-driven. Become part of our network today!
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Don’t Miss It!

You’re busy; we get it. Let us sift out the chaff for you. Only the most relevant workshops, webinars and resources. Delivered to your inbox. Do yourself–and us– a favor & Subscribe Today!

Got Questions? Answers?

KBFC has a listserv just for you! Whatever your experience level, our Google Group provides a forum for questions, research, events, stories and more. Contributions by all farmers are valuable so click on over and JOIN US TODAY!

Catch Up!

Be in the know about beginning farmer events, issues and efforts statewide. Mixers, farm tours, policy efforts, profiles…you’ll find it all in the KBFC Monthly Harvest. Sign-up today!

WHAT ELSE? The Best Encouragement Around!

We work to encourage socializing, networking, and skill sharing among beginning farmers across Kansas. But that’s not all, KFU is launching a campaign to increase awareness among current KFU members of opportunities to support and mentor beginning farmers and maximize the development of relationships across generations, experience levels, and crop/production types.

  • Visit our farms and discover how  we do things and why.  Learn from us!

  • Gather at KBFC regional Meet and Eat potlucks.  Get to know us!

  • Learn from experienced farmers.  Attend our great workshops!

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  • Summer Fun Farm Tour: Green Dirt Farm

Soldier’s Return: Reintegrating with society through farming

By Tom Parker After two tours of combat in Iraq, U.S. Army Major Ty Martin was feeling the strain. Though he wasn’t exhibiting clinical symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he was, in his words, “wrapped sort of tight.” This was particularly troubling because his pending retirement from the service gave him qualms about transitioning back into civilian life. Recognizing the symptoms, a close friend, Ron Ward, [...]

  • April Valley Farms
  • April Valley Farms JerryTheis
  • Schwinn Produce Farm Joe Schwinn
  • Prairie Garden Farm Don Craig

Returning to the Land: Diversification, family, and community lay foundation for success

By Tom Parker Jay Schwinn was living the American dream as a Merrill Lynch executive when the entire U.S. financial sector imploded in 2008. After being bought out, he called his brother, Joe, asking if he could use a partner on his small vegetable farm outside Leavenworth, Kan. His brother, while apologetic, was firm: no way could they could grow enough vegetables to support the two of [...]

  • Summer Fun Farm Tour One: Green Thumbs Up Produce

CRISIS DEFERRED: Urban farming and second-generation farm diversification promise new models for small farm success

By Tom Parker “You can all hear the roadway, right?” asked Josh Smith, manager of Gibbs Road Farm. “It never stops, day or night. That’s a constant reminder that we live in the city.” Smith had to raise his voice to be heard above the roar of a nearby interstate. His audience, participants in the first of three farm tours sponsored in part by the Kansas Farmers [...]

  • Summer Fun Farm Tour Series: Gibbs Road Farm
  • Summer Fun Farm Tour Series: Oregon Trail Farm

Summer Fun Farm Tour Series Kicks-off August 1

Kansas Farmers Union and the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Kansas are offering new and aspiring farmers an opportunity to visit nine Kansas and Missouri farms and learn from educators, producers and other experts about topics ranging from farm food safety to business planning. The Summer Fun Farm Tour Series runs every other Monday in August and includes stops across the northeastern region of the state, a local foods lunch, networking, [...]

  • Rosanna Bauman

Change the World by Asking “Why?”

By Tom Parker As an opening act for a discussion on cultivating healthy rural communities, Rosanna Bauman’s stunt with a big pitcher of water and a small drinking glass were hard to beat. As members of the Kansas Farmers Union kept one eye on Bauman and the other on their lunch, the crisp clatter of forks and knives on dinner plates faded to a stunned silence punctuated by nervous laughter [...]

  • National Farmers Union logo

NFU Beginning Farmer Institute Accepting Applications for 2016-17 Class

Cultivating the next generation of farmers and ranchers to carry on the legacy of American agriculture is the main focus of the National Farmers Union (NFU) Beginning Farmer Institute. NFU encourages new farmers, starting an operation of any size, to apply for the 2016-17 program class. Through sessions hosted in Washington D.C. and California, the program’s hands-on training emphasizes many of the challenges beginning farmers may face in their careers, [...]

  • Beginning Farmer Bus Tour

Hop on the Bus, Get Schooled on Local Food and Value-Added Production & Processing

Farmers of all experience levels are invited to hop on the bus and gain a better grasp of the opportunities and challenges of our local food systems. The Kansas Beginning Farmer Bus Tour follows convention and a special beginning farmer rate is available thanks to the Midwest Regional Agency. Learn more and register at Since 1910, the Iwig family has been raising cows and producing milk for Kansas families. [...]

  • Kansas Family Farms Day

Kansas Family Farms Day at the Capitol

Kansas Family Farms Day at the Capitol March 24, Kansas State Capitol, Topeka KS RSVP ONLINE HERE! The day will start at 9:00 AM in the Capitol Vistors Center auditorium with a briefing/press conference, followed by coffee and rolls on the first floor, south of the rotunda. Through the day, attendees are welcome to sit in on House and Senate proceedings and possibly meet personally with and deliver information to [...]

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Sprouts Salute Award Nominations

Kansas Beginning Farmers Coalition is celebrating our fourth birthday by honoring those that have nurtured beginning farmers across the state with the Sprouts Salute Awards. But we need your help!

KBFC invites YOU to nominate the organizations, individuals, businesses, and beginning farmers that have supported you as a beginning farmer, contributed to your business successes, and helped to minimize your challenges.

Make your nominations by Tuesday. We’ll then compile all nominations and the top five nominees in each category-nine in the beginning farmer category-will move forward to the voting process this week.

Nominate Now


Kansas Beginning Farmers Coalition recognizes the amazing work of the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC). NYFC is a national network of young and sustainable farmers organizing for our collective success: we’re defining the issues that beginning farmers face, fighting for the policy change that we need, and bringing farmers together in person and online to learn, share and build a stronger community. Join the movement at

Farming must remain a desirable and profitable career and livelihood. The healthiest future for food and farming in the United States will be achieved through the continued support for independent family farms that own and operate their own land and businesses. An interdependent network of family farms is the key to maintaining a resilient farm sector and healthy rural communities.
As caretakers of the natural wealth of the nation, farmers must be conscientious and mindful environmental stewards. We encourage farming practices that sustain healthy soil, water and air, and that will protect our climate for the next generation of farmers and consumers.
There must be high-quality farmland that is affordable for full-time farmers to purchase. Farmers must own their farmland in order to make capital improvements on their farms and to build equity for long-term financial security. Owning land provides personal satisfaction, confidence and practical efficiency that only comes with being in full control of the means of production of the farm; however long-term leases for secure and affordable farmland tenure must also be available.
Farming is deeply satisfying and joyful work that should allow each farmer to fully utilize his or her innate talents and abilities.  Farmers should have the opportunity to be part of a community working toward the common goal of sustaining farming for the future. All farmers and farm workers should receive a fair wage for their products and work, and should receive proper care when sick or injured. We recognize the incredible contribution of immigrant and migrant farm workers working in the United States, and believe that these individuals deserve the utmost respect, fair compensation and opportunities to build their own farms.
Farming cannot be learned entirely in a classroom, and the best teachers are often farmers themselves. We support the apprenticeship model of farmer education, modeled after other trades, and believe that mentorships and alternative farmer-to-farmer learning opportunities should be available to young farmers.
We strongly support inclusiveness in the farming profession, and believe that diversity among farmers is critical to maintaining a strong and vibrant agricultural sector to provide for a diversity of consumers.
We reject divisiveness between farmers over production philosophies or any other issue.  For land, skills and place-based knowledge to be transferred to the next generation, young farmers must embrace and collaborate with their elder farmers.  There are too few farmers in our country, and as such, each one contributes to feeding our nation and upholding farming traditions.