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Event Offers Networking and Educational Opportunities for Young and Beginning Farmers

Madeline Schultz speaking during her presentation on "Pitch It--More than a Mouthful"

Have you ever wondered how Young and Beginning Farmers get their start in Agriculture? The Jo Daviess, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties Extension offices have been involved in a Young and Beginning Farmer Research Project for the last year. The goal of the project is to assess how young and beginning farmers leverage startup resources, identify potential market niches, and to examine challenges and opportunities to increase production and expand market. Additionally, the study serves as an outreach for Extension to establish connections with farmers to deliver educational programs. As part of the project, Program Coordinator Jen Schultz has been interviewing participants throughout the area. On Wednesday, a special event was held in Freeport to share the progress and offer some great speakers and the ability for participants to network with other farmers.

Program Coordinator Jen Schultz gave a brief update on the current status of the research project. She was followed up by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Specialist Larry Tranel, who presented on managing farm stress. A panel discussion on social media and other forms of marketing was led by three farmers-Andy Hazzard of Hazzard Free Farms, Phil Raines of Raines Honey Farms and Drew Groezinger from Clara Joyce Flowers, and facilitated by staff. Iowa State University Women in Ag Program Manager Madeline Schultz rounded out the day and spoke about succession planning and strategies to help prepare the farm business transition.

For more information, contact the Stephenson County Extension Office (815) 235-4125 or email or visit

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.