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Home > Food from Farm to Table > Organic Agriculture > Farm Business Management > AGRI Beginning Farmer FBM Scholarships > Beginning Farmer FBM Scholarship Program Information

Beginning Farmer FBM Scholarship Program

Effective financial and business management are important keys to farm prosperity. Farm Business Management (FBM) education helps farmers learn new skills that will help them meet their business and personal goals and teaches them how to use their own farm records to make sound business decisions.

This scholarship program, offered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), pays 50% of the cost for beginning farmers to enroll in FBM education.

How does it work?

You will meet one-on-one with an FBM instructor. Together, you will design a program that fits your needs and is customized to your farming operation.

Who is eligible to receive a scholarship?

Beginning farmers who are Minnesota residents, have fewer than 40 credits of FBM, and enroll for 8 to 10 credits of FBM per academic year.

What is a “beginning farmer?”

A beginning farmer has owned and operated a farm or ranch, either alone or in partnership with others, for 10 years or fewer. The person must have a financial interest in the farm, must participate in making some or all management decisions, and must participate in the operation of the farm on a regular basis. (For example: maybe you just started your own brand new farm, maybe you grew up on the farm and have “come back” to join as a partner, or maybe you “married into” a farm and need to learn management skills. In all these cases, you’d be considered a beginning farmer.)

If I am already an FBM student, am I still eligible?

Yes, as long as you have fewer than 40 credits of FBM education.

How much are the scholarships? How much do I have to pay?

The scholarship pays 50% of tuition (after financial aid and any other grants). Scholarship recipients must take a minimum of eight and maximum of 10 credits per year. Full tuition ranges from $170-190 per credit, depending on your location, so a scholarship can make the program much more affordable.

Is it worth the investment?

More than 3,000 other Minnesota farmers think so! They say it helps them assess their profitability, make pricing and marketing decisions, monitor cash flow, and prepare their taxes. They use the program to help them manage their records and get a clearer picture of what is really happening on their farms from year to year: Where am I making money? Which aspects of my farm are unprofitable? Where could I reduce costs? Enhance profits? You will receive an end of year financial and business analysis and can use an anonymous benchmarking database called FINBIN to compare your operation with similar farms.

When can I start?

You can start the program at any time.

How do I sign up?

In Minnesota, the FBM program is offered by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. There are instructors located throughout Minnesota.

If you already enrolled in FBM, ask your instructor about it. If you are new and want help finding an FBM instructor, contact one of the following:

Southeast Minnesota
Riverland College
Eric Deters 507-259-6262
Central Minnesota
Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture (South Central College, Minnesota West Community & Technical College)  
Brad Schloesser 507-389-7263 or 507-847-7928
Northern Minnesota
(Central Lakes College, Northland College, Ridgewater College, Alexandria Tech, St. Cloud Tech)
Keith Olander 218-894-5163

What if I Have Other Questions?

Call the Minnesota Department of Agriculture at 651-201-6012.

All recipients must be Minnesota residents enrolled in a Minnesota FBM program.
Scholarships will be awarded while funds are available.

MDA Contact

Becky Balk, Beginning & Transitioning Farm Coordinator
Becky.Balk@state.mn.us or 651-201-6369
Ag Marketing & Development Division

Ag Marketing & Development Division