New Farmer U


Time: Two-day event!

Location: Urbana, IL

Organization hosting this event: The Land Connection and Marbleseed

Price $50 / day…

Like any small business owner, farmers need to understand the basics of business to be successful. Without adequate markets, you can’t make a living. Without a business plan, you make choices willy-nilly. Without solid financial planning and recordkeeping, it’s hard to assess the success of your business. So often, folks get into farming for passionate reasons. But the reality is that unless we operate our farms as businesses, they will not be economically sustainable.

Enter New Farmer U! Plan for farm financial success, manage farm risk, find farm financing, and connect with other farmers at this two-day retreat for intermediate beginning farmers – three to six years of farming experience – or anyone who is ready to plan for future success. 

DAY 1 – October 28, 2022: Choose from two full-day options (lunch included)


Taught by Paul Dietmann, lender with Compeer Financial and co-author of “Fearless Farm Finances”, and Andy Larson
from the Food Finance Institute, this full-day workshop will provide instructions, tips, and tools for setting up and managing a farm’s financial system, including sample data to show how forms and records should look.


  • Why detailed numbers are crucial to farming success
  • Techniques for data collection
  • How to set up and use a bookkeeping system
  • Computer bookkeeping program tips
  • Step-by-step development of the three primary financial statements
  • How to use numbers to make product mix, market, and pricing decisions
  • Plus much more to help you improve farm profits


Jim Carbine, former CEO of Local Foods, and Alex Frantz, Director of Local & Sustainability at Midwest Foods, will explain why distributors do what they do and how you can use them to achieve your goals. Jim and Alex will be joined by local farmers who will share what they’ve learned from years of working with distributors.


  • Understanding your cost of production
  • Margin vs. Mark-up vs. Profit
  • Situating distributors within the value chain
  • How to identify the right distribution partner for your operation
  • Mechanics of working with distributors 
  • Maintaining your brand identity and preserving your unique story
  • Certifications and how they can support your pricing strategy
  • Safety regulations and records
  • …learn more

Day 2 – October 29, 2022: A full day of farm business workshops! (lunch included)

Content for Day 2 is still being finalized, but you can expect to learn about:

  • Insurance products and risk management
  • Labor challenges and solutions
  • Traditional and non-traditional financing options
  • …and more!

Scholarships available!

Need help paying for this training? We have scholarships to reduce the cost to $15 for either the Friday full day course or the Saturday workshops. Click the button below to apply.