Small Farm Dream workshop set for Sheldon

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Exploring the Small Farm Dream" is the topic of a four-week course set to begin April 12 at Northwest Iowa Community College, in Sheldon.

The series will continue through May 3 with classes held Thursday evenings from 6--9 p.m.

Melissa O'Rourke, farm/agribusiness management specialist for Iowa State University Extension, says the series is designed to help individuals considering operating a small farm or starting an agricultural business.

"These individuals are looking for ways to establish a profitable agricultural business, realizing they probably can't have a cost-effective traditional row crop operation on a smaller acreage," O'Rourke said. "I want to make their small farm dream come true with what they learn in this series of workshops."

This course provides a framework to help alternative farmers assess their skills and interests, learn the realities of farm business ownership, and become connected to local resources, O'Rourke said.

Course participants will be able to explore the risks and rewards of being an agricultural business owner, assess the market and revenue potential of ideas and put dreams into a framework for action, she added.

Small farm operators currently "living the dream" will be present for a portion of each session to share their experiences and recommendations, O'Rourke said.

Other participating speakers will offer advice on evaluating alternatives, putting together business plans and seeking financial assistance for small farm operations.

Course enrollment is limited with a $50 registration fee.

Those wishing to register for the course are asked to do by contacting the County Extension office: 712-472-2576 or by going to Facebook, ISU Extension and Outreach Lyon County.

Additional course information is available on the series by contacting Melissa O'Rourke, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach at or 712-737-4230 or Kaye Strohbehn, ISU Extension and Outreach County Program Coordinator at or 712-754-3648.