BRAINERD — The Farm Business Management Program at Central Lakes College has announced the addition of two new instructors, Narayan Dhakal and Erik Heimark.
This opportunity came through a grant from the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council to support urban agriculture and provide additional assistance to specialty crop growers.
Dhakal will focus on urban agriculture and serve the seven county metropolitan area. Heimark will serve the entire state, helping specialty crop growers.
Cory Detloff, director of agriculture and energy/farm business management at CLC, said he was delighted to have Heimark and Dhakal join the team.
“They will bring a wealth of knowledge to new populations who have not been able to participate in farm business management,” Detloff said in a press release. “I am thrilled to offer Farm Business Management in the seven-county metro area, as well as being able to once again offer Specialty Crop Farm Business Management.”
Originally from Nepal, Dhakal came to the United States to pursue graduate studies at the University of Minnesota, where he earned a doctorate in conservation biology. Dhakal brings over 20 years of experience in multidisciplinary community conservation, both in the United States and in Nepal. He has also volunteered for SCORE Minnesota, mentoring small business owners.
“I will bring new perspectives on mitigating adverse environmental consequences through responsible management of agricultural enterprises,” Dhakal said in a press release. “I believe that smallholder farm management is critical to producing the next generation of responsible agricultural business models and I hope my position as an FBM Instructor will also build community awareness in the production, processing, food management and marketing.
Heimark brings a background in education, having previously been a teacher of agriculture and industrial arts at Aitkin High School, a naturalist instructor at the Long Lake Conservation Center, and served as an orchard manager at a local orchard. Heimark owns and operates a five-acre vegetable farm with her husband in southern Aitkin County.
“I am excited to help specialty crop farmers grow and succeed in their craft and be part of the FBM community,” he said in a press release. “My goal is to help Minnesota become a recognized state for producing specialty crops and commodities and to increase the sustainability and profitability of these businesses.”
Sarah Dornink, executive director of the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council, said the organization is thrilled to partner with Central Lakes College to provide additional farm business management opportunities to underserved agricultural populations in Minnesota.
“We welcome Narayan & Erik to this important effort and look forward to supporting their work with urban and specialty farmers,” she said in a press release.
Keith Olander, executive director of AgCentric and Agricultural Partnerships with the State of Minnesota and CLC, added, “Minnesota Farm Business Management will increase its impact on farmers with these two positions added to our ranks. I am thrilled that Narayan and Erik are joining Minnesota FBM to serve specialty crops, urban and emerging farmers!