A Nation of Farmers

As Sharon Astyk urges in her book, A Nation of Farmers, we need millions of new farmers and we need them now. To encourage new and beginning farmers, the Northeast Beginning Farmers Project is offering online courses specifically geared for beginning farmers — start this winter and learn more about production, pricing, marketing, and keeping financial records for your farm:

Winter Online Courses for Beginning Farmers Open for Registration

The long dark days of winter are the perfect time to dream and plan for the next growing season, and if you’re already farming, to organize your records and look back at how last season went. We offer several online courses to help you with this:

• If you’re just exploring the feasibility of farming as a business, or you’re committed to the idea but haven’t yet determined how to proceed, then BF 102: Markets and Profits: Exploring the Feasibility of Your Farming Ideas will help you begin to think about markets and the potential to make money growing various crops.

• Farmers seeking to grow their farm or inject some new life into their marketing will benefit from BF 201: Pricing, Positioning in the Market, and Guerrilla Marketing

• Trying to determine if your farm business is profitable? Need some guidance setting up or organizing your financial recordkeeping system? Then BF 104: Financial Records: Setting Up Systems to Track Your Profitability is for you.

• BF 121: Veggie Farming: From Season-Long Care to Harvest is the second half of our popular Veggie Farming courses, but can be taken as a stand-alone course if you missed BF 120. Many new farmers focus on the planning and planting, but this important course takes you through fertility, pest management, harvest, post-harvest handling and marketing.

• Thinking of growing berries? BF 122: Berry Production: Getting Started with Production and Marketing will get you started on the right foot with careful site selection and preparation, planning and marketing, and production considerations for strawberries, blueberries, brambles, and lesser-known berry crops.

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 may improve their eligibility to receive a low-interest Farm Service Agency (FSA) loan.

To learn more about each course, please visit http://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.

For more information: www.nebeginningfarmers.org

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