A free workshop to help beginning farmers and ranchers understand the “Alphabet Soup of USDA Programs” will be hosted Friday, Feb. 16 in Hannibal.

A free workshop to help beginning farmers and ranchers understand the “Alphabet Soup of USDA Programs” will be hosted Friday, Feb. 16 in Hannibal.

University of Missouri Extension sponsors the program to help socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and military veterans understand about USDA and MU Extension programs. Darla Campbell, MU Extension agricultural business specialist, said attendees also can learn about Missouri AgrAbility Project and resources for veterans.

Pre-registration is required by 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, to ensure enough materials and food. A free meal will be provided if you register by the deadline. For more information, contact Darla at 660-457-3469 or email campbelld@missouri.edu.

The workshop will be held at Fiddlestiks', 8945 Hwy 36 in Hannibal.

MU Extension, through a grant from the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach to help veterans and socially disadvantaged persons who want to farm, offers the program to increase agribusinesses and enterprise development.

The USDA 2501 grant helps beginning farmers and others evaluate and plan their farm enterprise in a follow up program Grow Your Farm, this program is offered after the initial one on February 16th. Participants attend a set of practical seminars and field days to learn from MU Extension specialists, farmers and agribusiness operators. The grant comes at a critical time, said Karen Funkenbusch, Project Director of the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program. More than 300,000 veterans are expected to return to their rural Missouri roots in the next decade.

“Many of them will seek work in agriculture,” Funkenbusch said.