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Mentoring program helps new organic farmers make the transition

December 16, 2009

From press release

SPRING VALLEY, Wis.—A Farmer-to-Farmer Mentoring Program is again being sponsored in 2010 by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES).

This program helps new organic farmers make the transition to organic production with help from experienced farmer mentors. Applications are now being accepted for mentor farmers and those to be mentored (mentees).

All participants in the mentoring program will also be given admission to the 2010 Organic Farming Conference and Organic University, where they can broaden their organic farming education and network with other producers. Both events are sponsored by MOSES, and will be held in La Crosse, Wis., Feb. 25-27, 2010.

For farmers who are new to organic production, or those who are just starting out in farming and want to be organic from the beginning, the Farmer-to-Farmer Mentoring Program is a valuable asset. Working with successful and experienced mentors, new and transitioning organic farmers will get help with everything from farm planning, marketing and selecting seed to cover cropping, pest management and soil fertility.

Mentees also will be encouraged to participate in field days, pasture walks and other organic farming educational events in their area. The program is for producers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, and is open to most types of farming.

Coordinating the program is Harriet Behar, MOSES organic specialist. “Farmer-to farmer-learning is one of the best ways for newer organic farmers to gain valuable know-how quickly and avoid early mistakes,” said Behar. “Mentees really appreciate the advice, encouragement and support they receive from their mentors. It gives them the confidence to move forward with their farming plans.”

Farmers interested in serving as mentors or mentees should contact Harriet Behar at the toll-free Farmer Transition Hotline, 888-551-4769, or by e-mail at harriet@mosesorganic.org.

Mentors and mentees will find a form to complete on the MOSES Web site, http://mosesorganic.org/mentoring.html, that describes their experience and farming operation to aid MOSES in matching up mentors with transitioning farmers.

From the Dec. 16-22, 2009 issue

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