The second Annual Beginning Farmer and Rancher Conference will take place Feb. 18 through 20 in Grand Rapids, Mich., at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel & DeVos Place Convention Center. The conference is presented by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and Start2Farm.gov.

Beginning farmers and ranchers interested in all types of agriculture are encouraged to attend. Farm Bureau membership is not required. The conference provides an opportunity for attendees to network with other farmers from around the country and learn from experts about how to start and maintain a thriving farm or ranch business.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said beginning and young farmers and ranchers are integral to U.S. agriculture’s future. “America’s farmers recognize that providing food that satisfies the tastes and preferences of today’s consumers is more important than ever before. We welcome into our ranks and extend a helping hand to beginning farmers who are just starting their careers as food producers.”

The “early bird” rate of $200 per person applies for all conference registrations received by Dec. 15. (The regular registration rate of $250 per person for the conference will apply Dec. 16 through Jan. 17.) The registration fee includes conference materials, farm tours and meals for Saturday lunch, Sunday lunch and dinner, and Monday lunch and dinner. Attendees are responsible for their own hotel reservations.

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Conference will be held in conjunction with the annual American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference. Attendees at both conferences will have the opportunity to attend sessions at the other meeting. For more information, including online registration and hotel information, see here or e-mail questions to info@start2farm.gov.

The Start2Farm website and program are a project of the National Agricultural Library in partnership with AFBF. Start2Farm is funded through a Beginning Farming and Ranching Development Program grant funded by the Agriculture Department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to assist people new to farming or ranching and those who have less than 10 years experience.