WASHINGTON — The National Farmers Union has extended the application deadline for its 2014 Beginning Farmers Institute program to April 7 due to additional sponsorships that will allow for more participants.

The annual program, now accepting its fourth 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 Farmers Institute underscores NFU’s commitment to growing a new generation of family agriculture,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “One unique feature of the institute is that participants direct the agenda, allowing them to gain information on topics that will be most relevant to their particular operations. The size and diversity of the group also ensures valuable interaction and learning opportunities among the participants.” 

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 2014 program will attend three separate education sessions. One session will be in Washington, D.C., one in Minneapolis, Minn., and a final session culminating at NFU’s convention in March 2015 in Wichita, Kan.

Program topics at the education sessions will include business planning, U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, tax and record keeping, estate transfer and marketing. 

Interested applicants can download the 2014 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 April 7. 

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