WINONA (AP) - A new program by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture seeks to build connections between farmers who are ready to get out of the business and those who want to get in.

The Minnesota Farm Transition Program offers a place where farmers who are ready to retire can connect with beginning farmers who may need help getting past the high capital costs of getting started. Department official Jim Ostlie says the goal is to pair retiring farmers without an heir and new farmers without a farm to inherit or take over.

More than 30 beginning farmers and nine retiring farmers have signed up for the program since it launched last fall. Several others are currently working on arrangements.