The Central Lakes College Farm Business Management Program is pleased to announce the addition of two new instructors, Narayan Dhakal and Erik Heimark. This opportunity came with the help of a grant through the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC) to support urban agriculture and provide additional assistance for specialty crops producers.
Dhakal will focus on urban agriculture and serve the seven-county metro area. Heimark will serve statewide, assisting specialty crops producers.
Cory Detloff, Director of Ag & Energy/Farm Business Management at CLC, says he is excited to have Heimark and Dhakal join the team.
“They will bring a wealth of knowledge to new populations that have not been able to participate in Farm Business Management,” Detloff said. “I am excited to offer Farm Business Management in the seven-county metro area, as well as being able to once again offer Specialty Crops Farm Business Management.”
Originally from Nepal, Dhakal came to the United States to pursue graduate studies at the University of Minnesota, from where he completed a Ph. D in Conservation Biology. Dhakal brings more than 20 years of experience in multidisciplinary community-based conservation, both in the US and Nepal. He also volunteered for SCORE Minnesota, mentoring small business owners.
“I will bring new perspectives on mitigating adverse environmental consequences through the means of responsible farm business management,” Dhakal said. “I believe small-scale farm management is instrumental in producing the next generation of responsible farm business models and hope my FBM instructor position will also strengthen the community outreach in food production, processing, managing and marketing.”
Heimark brings a background in education, previously serving as an Agriculture and Industrial Arts Teacher at Aitkin High School, Naturalist Instructor at Long Lake Conservation Center and was an orchard manager at a local orchard. Heimark owns and operates a 5-acre vegetable farm with his husband in southern Aitkin County.
“I am excited to help specialty crops farmers grow and succeed in their craft and be a part of the FBM community,” he said. “My goal is to help Minnesota become a state recognized for its produce and specialty crop production and increase the sustainability and profitability of these enterprises.”
Sarah Dornink, Executive Director of MAELC, said the organization is excited to partner with Central Lakes College to provide additional Farm Business Management opportunities for Minnesota’s underserved farming populations.
“We welcome Narayan & Erik to this important effort and look forward to supporting their work with urban and specialty crop farmers,” she said.
Keith Olander, Executive Director of AgCentric and Agricultural Partnerships with Minnesota State and CLC, added, “Minnesota Farm Business Management will increase its impact on farmers with these two positions added to our ranks. I am pleased to have Narayan and Erik join Minnesota FBM to serve specialty crops, urban and emerging farmers!