Farmer-to-Farmer Mentorship Program
Get 1-to-1 guidance from an experienced organic farmer who can help you:
- Learn best practices for your type of organic farming operation
- Prepare your farm for organic certification
- Move your organic farm forward with experienced guidance
“I wish I could sponge up every bit of information she gives. Bottom line, we love [our mentor] . . . This has been a fulfilment of [our] dreams of many years. Thanks so much for putting us in touch with her.”
–Kevin K., 2023 mentee
Mentored farmers pay $350 to participate in the program, which includes admission to two Marbleseed conferences ($600 value).
Applicants must have been operating their farm business for at least one year prior to application date.
Payment is due upon acceptance into the program. A limited number of scholarships are available.
Applications are due December 1, 2023 for the 2024 mentoring program, which runs from January 2024 to February 2025. Accepted applicants will be notified in December 2023.
The Transitioning to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) represents The Midwest Regional Center and its partner organizations who provide wrap-around support to farmers transitioning to organic production, including mentorship. Inquiries regarding TOPP mentorships are being directed to the National Organic Program.
How does the Mentorship Program work?
The mentorship program empowers organic farmers through one-on-one guidance as they grow their business, seek organic certification, add farm enterprises, hone production skills, balance farm and family, and more.
Mentorships are available in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Beginning in January, mentors and mentees work together to set goals for the mentorship year and build a communication system tailored for their individual needs and preferences. Unlike many internship programs, the mentored farmer is not required to help on the mentor’s farm. Instead, the mentor visits the mentored farmer at least once during the year and is available to communicate and answer questions via phone and email.
Formal education component
The mentor and mentee each receive one complimentary registration to the Marbleseed Organic Farming Conference, the country’s premier education and networking event about organic agriculture, at both the start and the end of the mentorship. The pair also receives updates throughout the year regarding other organic educational opportunities, such as field days and workshops. In addition, Marbleseed Organic Specialists are available at any time of the year to ask specific farming or certification questions.
Program requirements for Mentored Farmers
Applicants must have been operating their farm business for at least one year prior to application date. We have found that farmers at this stage have more experience with basic farming issues and know where they need guidance. Mentored farmers pay $350 to participate in the program, which includes admission to two Marbleseed conferences ($600 value). Accepted applicants will be notified in December 2023.
Program requirements for Mentors
Our team matches experienced farmer mentors with a mentee, paired by specialty and proximity to each other’s farms. Mentors receive a stipend for sharing their time and knowledge with a mentee. Additional requirements are listed on the application form.