New Young Farmer Peer Group Being Formed

Written by Theresa Rose on June 2, 2016

Young and beginning farmers face many hurdles in entering the agricultural industry and growing their farm operations.  Financial constraints, time limitations and communication skills often complicate the growth and asset transition plans of young farmers and farm families.  Beginning farmers are also unique in their organization, family structures and goals. Yet they need education, skills and experiences to help them sustainably and profitably grow their operations.

Washington County Extension will host a gathering of young farmers at 5:30 pm on June 23 at the Southeast Iowa Research Farm located east of Crawfordsville, IA. The meeting is a kick-off event for a young farmer peer group.   A light meal will be provided at 5:30 pm followed by presentations on the USDA EQUIP program, financial management, and needs of youg farmers and available resources.  The meeting is open to all young farmers from Southeast Iowa.  There is no charge for the event.

The Young Farmer Peer Group is an initiative of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach  to develop a network of beginning and young farmer groups across the state to both educate and mentor.  Meeting content, tours and scheduling are directed by local participant input.

Iowa State University Extension recently received funding from a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant.  “When new farmers and ranchers start their operations, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program can help them implement tested strategies and new ideas that in turn benefit all of us by reducing food insecurity, growing economic opportunities, and building communities,” said Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. “Today, we are partnering with organizations who recognize that an investment in our beginning farmers and ranchers is also an investment in our future.” The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program was first established by the 2008 Farm Bill and was continued in the 2014 Farm Bill. The program provides support to those who have farmed or ranched for less than 10 years.


ISU Extension and Outreach livestock and farm management specialists have been active in working with eleven local peer groups over the past four years.  Peer group participants have enjoyed the concept of the peer learning led by ISU and plan to intensify their activity through the new programs and workshops.

RSVP to Washington County Extension 319-653-4811 are appreciated but not required

The group is open to anyone who has farmed 10 years or less and lives anywhere in Southeast Iowa.


The Southeast Research Farm will hold their early summer field day at 1:00 pm on June 23 as well.  This event is open to the public and no registration is required.