The Mentor Link program connects beginning farmers and ranchers with successful, experienced farmers, ranchers, agriculture professionals, or business mentors. Mentors highlight their specific skill sets and select the types of mentorship they would be willing to offer. Mentorship is tailored to the needs of each mentor and mentee and can range from farm visits to phone or email consultations on a regular or as-needed basis to a mentee starting a business on a mentor’s land.
The program is primarily driven by mentees, beginning farmers who can peruse the database of listings and directly contact the mentors who can help with specific challenges they are facing. We created this program because we understand that nothing can replace farmer-to-farmer learning and the networks that emerge from these types of relationships. The Community Food & Agriculture Coalition provides trainings and workshops to assist early stage farmers with business planning, marketing, and financing, but we need the help of mentors across Montana to share their expertise with these farmers as they grow and encounter new challenges. It is our goal that Mentor Link will be used to connect farmers and ranchers with one another for the benefit of a stronger agricultural system in Montana.