BFRDP Projects

Open Books: Open Farmland┬┐Increasing Farm Economic Viability in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.
[Final Report]

Award Amount: $600,000
Grant Program: 2016 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Pam Wilcox
Organization: Angelic Organics Learning Center


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

The Open Books: Open Farmland project is led by Angelic Organics Learning Center, Liberty Prairie Foundation and Upper Midwest CRAFT farmer alliance. The project will bring farmer-led services to 217 beginning sustainable agriculture farmers and trainees. As requested by farmers, the project addresses two major barriers for beginning farmers: financial management training and land tenure. The long-term goal of Open Books: Open Farmland is to help beginning farmers in their first ten years of startup develop viable, financially robust farm businesses in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. The objectives of the project are to:

  • Create and launch farm finance working groups and a mentoring program that enhance farm financial management and improve the economic viability of at least 40 farms.
  • Increase access to capital and related financing training for 24-48 farmers.
  • Increase land access for beginning farmers using innovative farmland transfer strategies and create a link program to match retiring farmers with beginning farmers in need of land, resulting in at least 6 successful matches over the project period.
  • Build the collective knowledge of best practices in improving farm economic viability; disseminate results with others.

Our primary approach to achieve these objectives is to design and integrate farm economic viability programs into established farmer-led farmer training programs. The collaborating farmer alliance and nonprofits are the leaders of innovative farmer training in the region and provide the only training that is farmer-led, focused on sustainable agriculture, and aimed at expanding the local food economy.

Number of Participants: 294


Promotional Materials

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Educational Materials

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Reports & Evaluations

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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success