National Farmers Union (NFU) is now accepting applications for its 2013 Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) program. The annual program, now accepting its third class of students, is open to individuals who are new to farming, are in the process of transferring an operation from a relative or non-relative to themselves, or are contemplating a career in farming or ranching.

“The Beginning Farmer Institute underscores our commitment to growing a new generation of family agriculture,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “This program will answer the questions new farmers have, and more importantly share our expertise to answer questions that people might not think of asking when they begin farming.”

The BFI program helps students gain insight and practical skills needed by beginning farmers and ranchers, including business plan writing, financial planning, and researching available programs to help starting up and sustaining a successful operation.

Applicants accepted into the 2013 program will attend three separate education sessions, to be held in the spring and fall of 2013, in Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, Minn., respectively, with a final session culminating at NFU’s annual Convention in March 2014 in Santa Fe, N.M.  Program topics at the education sessions will include business planning, USDAprograms, tax and record keeping, estate transfer and marketing.

The Beginning Farmers Institute is supported by the NFU Foundation, Farm Credit and the CHS Foundation.

Interested applicants can download the 2013 application on the NFU website, as well as visit NFU’s education Facebook page for updates and further information on NFU’s youth and young adult education programs. Applications must be postmarked on or before Feb. 11, 2013.