Are you interested in starting your own farm one day, but looking for a little more experience and mentorship first? The Michigan State University Farm Business Incubator could be for you!
Located at the MSU Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in beautiful Chatham, this program provides access to organically managed land, hoop house space, farm equipment, tools, cold storage, and wash/pack facilities. Accepted participants pay a small program fee of $1064/acre, up to 1 acre, and $60/hour of tractor use along with four hours of “sweat equity” each week to support the overall program.Optional housing is available for $175 per month on the farm.
In addition to the land and tools necessary for farming, MSU extension educators can also provide mentorship on farm planning and business management. Though, this isn’t a training program, it provides the opportunity for prospective farmers to try their hand at farming in the unique climate of the Upper Peninsula.
Beginning in 2014, this program was created with support from the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, who launched the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. The FBI program recognizes that the start up years for farms are the most difficult. This program allows participants to establish their farm business without making large capital investments —letting them identify and create markets for their products before going out on their own. Since 2014, six farm businesses have participated in the program.
This program accepts new applicants on an annual basis — there’s room for one more farmer this year! Apply here
If you are interested in learning more about the Farm Incubator Program, feel free to reach out to Abbey Palmer at 906-439-5058 or [email protected]