If you are a farmer or rancher, or have agricultural or business experience, join FSA to support the next generation and invest in your local community! Your experiences and knowledge as a business owner, agricultural professional or farmer can provide vital support to the community you live in.

USDA is collaborating with SCORE — www.score.org - the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors in an effort to expand the field of available agricultural mentors and provide free business mentoring to farmers, ranchers and other agricultural and rural business owners.

SCORE is looking for volunteers with experience in an agriculture-related field who would like to become a part of an extended field of volunteers. The organization’s Orientation and Mentoring Certification program provides volunteers with everything needed to be a successful volunteer. Training includes background about SCORE’s mission and services, as well as guidance on how to be a business mentor, including enhancement of listening, interviewing and problem-solving skills.

Current SCORE volunteer mentors have backgrounds in finance, accounting, marketing, operations, business and financial planning. The mentors provide local expertise and free one-on-one business mentoring to new and existing farmers and business owners. Together they work through the process of starting up or maintaining agricultural and rural businesses. No matter what stage a business is in, SCORE volunteer mentors can help in developing business plans, navigating financing and legal issues, identifying new markets, and other topics, in order to help their clients succeed.

FSA invites you to learn more and sign up at https://newfarmers.usda.gov/mentorship.

Field editor for the Midwest Messenger.