AUGUSTA — The Beginning Farmer Resource Network will host free workshops and talks during the Maine Agricultural Trades Show set for Jan. 9-11 at the Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Drive.

Designed to help new and aspiring farmers understand the programs and services available, the Beginning Farmer Conference will start at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10, with a panel discussion, “What Does it Mean to be a ‘Beginning Farmer’ from 2018 to 2028?”

Farmers and service providers will discuss typical challenges and growth phases in the first 10 years of any farm business. The panel will be followed by a talk by author and farmer Lucie B. Amundsen, co-owner of Locally Laid Egg Company, a family-run farm in Wrenshall, Minnesota.

Seven hands-on workshops will be held Jan. 10-11 on topics such as accessing farm capital and how to start a specialty food business in Maine. Participants are encouraged to bring laptops, notebooks and farm records to work on projects specific to their needs.

According to the most recent USDA Census of Agriculture, nearly one-third of Maine farmers have 10 or fewer years of experience operating their present farm — the definition of a beginning farmer, according to a news release from Tori Jackson, University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator.

“Starting a farm is not an easy or clear process, so we hope to make the path simpler and streamlined for Mainers who are still in their first decade of farming,” said Jackson, according to the release. “UMaine Extension is one of 25 agricultural agencies and organizations working together to expedite the opportunities for aspiring and beginning farmers, and helping them connect to resources for farm business success.”

The Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets also is opening its 10th annual convention luncheon and keynote to Beginning Farmer Conference attendees on Jan. 11. The keynote, “Hacking the Local Foodshed: Why Farmers’ Markets Matter More Than Ever,” will be delivered by Philip Ackerman-Leist, professor of sustainable agriculture and food systems at Green Mountain College.

Cost for the luncheon and keynote is $18 per person.

To register, or for more information, email Lynne Hazelton at [email protected] or visit extension.umaine.edu.

To request a disability accommodation, contact Jackson at 353-5550, or Stephanie Gilbert at 287-7520 or [email protected].