Openings remain for a free Oct. 18 workshop to help beginning farmers and ranchers, including military veterans, learn about resources offered by state and federal agencies. University of Missouri Extension sponsors the workshop.

“Understanding the ABCs of USDA Programs” for beginning farmers and ranchers will be held 12-3:30 p.m. Oct. 18, at Meramac Regional Planning, 4 Industrial Drive, St. James, said Patricia Barrett, MU Extension county engagement specialist.

MU Extension specialists and USDA representatives will share “plain language” information about programs available through Extension, USDA, AgrAbility and Veteran Resources.

Make reservations by Oct. 16 through MU Extension of Phelps County at 573-458-6260 or Barrett at

MU Extension, to help military veterans and socially disadvantaged persons who want to farm, offers the program to increase agribusinesses and enterprise development. Karen Funkenbusch serves as director.

The USDA grant helps beginning farmers and others evaluate and plan their farm enterprise. Participants attend a set of practical seminars and field days to learn from MU Extension specialists, farmers and agribusiness operators. 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 says.