The growing season is still in full swing, but here at the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project, we’re already thinking about “education season”. This Fall we’ll be offering 7 online courses – including 4 new topics – to help you continue your farming education. As always, our courses are taught by experienced Cooperative Extension educators, farmers, and other specialists. Courses are typically 6 weeks long, cost $175, and include both real-time meetings (online webinars) and on-your-own time reading and activities. We do not offer any academic credit, but those who successfully complete a course will receive a certificate and are also eligible for Farm Service Agency (FSA) borrower training credit, which can improve eligibility to receive a low-interest FSA loan.
We’ve got several courses that will help you build the “invisible infrastructure” of your farm business:
Our introductory-level course for those still in the exploring and early planning stages, BF 101: Square One, is back, to help you get clear about your goals, skills, and available resources.
If you’re well beyond that stage and ready to write a full business plan, sign up for the BF 202: Planning to Stay in Business course, which will help you prepare to seek funding from banks and other lenders
Need some guidance setting up financial recordkeeping systems? Then BF 104: Financial Records is for you.
On the production side, we offer:
BF 120: Veggie Farming – back by popular demand, this jam-packed course has now been divided into two parts (with BF 121 being offered in January). BF 120 covers the planning, budgeting, site selection, and planting, while BF 121 will pick up where BF 120 leaves off and take you through considerations in season-long care, harvest, and marketing.
Raising poultry is a popular enterprise for many small farmers, so this Fall we’re introducing a new course, BF 130: Poultry Production, to cover the basic requirements of producing and profiting from chickens, ducks, and turkeys.
Before you sink a lot of money into equipment, consider taking BF 105: Machinery and Equipment, another new course designed to help you weigh your options and make smart decisions about what’s best for your farm scale and situation.
BF 110: Soil Health returns again this Fall to introduce growers at all levels of experience to practical on-farm applications of soil health concepts. This course will again incorporate an optional in-person field day at an amazing farm in Northern NY that will demonstrate improvement of soil health on a working farm.
To learn more about each course, please visit https://nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses . From this site you can see our full calendar of courses, learn more about our instructors, see answers to Frequently Asked Questions, read details for each course, and even visit a sample online course.
Courses often fill very quickly, so don’t miss your chance to sign up today!
Development of new online courses has been partially funded by the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program, project #2009-49400-05878. Course coordination is provided by the Cornell Small Farms Program, http://www.smallfarms.cornell.edu.