Openings remain for July 20 program for beginning farmers and ranchers

  • Published: Monday, Jul. 10, 2017

MOUNT VERNON Mo. – Openings remain for a free July 20 workshop to help beginning farmers and ranchers understand the “Alphabet Soup of USDA Programs.”

University of Missouri Extension sponsors the program to help socially disadvantaged, veteran and Latino farmers and ranchers understand USDA and MU Extension programs. Jim Spencer, MU Extension agricultural business specialist, says attendees also can learn about Missouri AgrAbility Project and resources for veterans.

The workshop will be held in Lawrence County at MU’s Southwest Research Center, 14548 Highway H, Mount Vernon. For more information about the center, go to For more information about the workshop, contact Spencer at 417-581-3558 or

MU Extension, through a grant from the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach to help veterans, Latinos and socially disadvantaged persons who want to farm, offers the program to increase agribusinesses and enterprise development. Karen Funkenbusch serves as director. Patricia Barrett, Debi Kelly and Eleazar Gonzalez serve as co-directors.

The USDA 2501 grant helps beginning farmers and others evaluate and plan their farm enterprise. Participants attend a set of practical seminars and field days to learn from MU Extension specialists, farmers and agribusiness operators. The grant comes at a critical time, Funkenbusch says. More than 300,000 veterans are expected to return to their rural Missouri roots in the next decade. “Many of them will seek work in agriculture,” she says. Latinos also represent one of the fastest-growing populations of new farm operators.

Writer: Linda Geist

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