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Training Programs Help Launch New Farmers

Five Hen Farm owners Andrew Banks and Sarah Newman gained knowledge to start their own farm from several sources, reports Illinois Farmer Today. After completing an agricultural education degree in college, Banks and his wife gained on-the-ground training working on farms in Ireland through WOOF — Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Later, they completed a Farm Beginnings training program offered by the regional organization Food Works, that helped them learn the business side of farming. Banks is raising poultry and feeding hogs on his 6.5-acre farm, and marketing his products at farmers markets and to restaurants. Next season, he’ll be selling to three more restaurants and expanding the amount of land he farms.