Beginning Farmer Institute

National Farmers Union's Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) is a free training programs for new producers of all ages and operation type/size. Participants attend three in-person learning sessions over the course of the year, one each in Washington, D.C., Northern California, and Savannah, Georgia. The sessions include farm tours as well as seminars on a variety of beginning farmers issues, such as business planning, USDA programs, and acquiring land.
Learn more about the Beginning Farmers Institute in the FAQs below!
Beginning Farmer Institute FAQs!


  • Must be 18 years or older.
  • Applicants should be currently farming or planning on starting within the next year.
  • Owning an operation is not required.
  • Operations of any type and size are eligible to apply.
  • This program is open to residents of the contiguous United States, Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico.
  • Commitment

  • The Beginning Farmer Institute meets three times a year. Attendance at these meetings is required.
  • Cost

  • NFU will cover the majority of the remaining costs of the NFU Beginning Farmer Institute including travel, lodging, and most meals during the event.
  • Application and Selection Process

  • Applications are made available on February 1-April 15, 2019.
  • Each application will be carefully reviewed and analyzed for content and completion by a screening committee. A team of people who have hands-on farming experience will score applications.
  • Expectation

  • NFU’s expectation is to have each institute graduate become an inspiration to and actively mentor similar individuals in their area or to become candidates for local boards and other community opportunities.
  • 2019-2020 BFI Participants

    Rose Bisanz

    Josefina Lara Chavez

    Tucker Dehmlow

    Carissa Elmstrand

    Jennifer Ghigiarelli

    Miriam Goertzen-Regier

    Ryan Goertzen-Regier

    Tanner Hunt

    Sara Beth Johnson

    Akello Karamoko

    Kyle Minyard

    Joseph Ploeckelman

    A special thank you to BFI's sponsors!