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Sustainable Agriculture

Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program

Journeyman CollageAcross the United States and in Georgia, the number of small and medium –sized farms is declining and the average age of farmers is on the rise. Although we need new farmers, the barriers would-be farmers face when trying to grow new agricultural businesses from the ground up can be formidable. UGA Extension and partners has developed a new Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program to provide a comprehensive training program for beginning farmers. This project is funded by USDA NIFA Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program and includes three training steps:

  1. Small Farm Business Planning,
  2. Small Fruit & Vegetable Production or Small Ruminants Production,
  3. Hands-on Production Training.

If you have questions about the program or want to find out more about this opportunity. Please Contact:
Journeyman Farmer Program Assistant

Lindsay Davies
(706) 542-1401
Lndavies@uga.edu

Program Locations 2017-2018

Programs are being run in these locations during 2017 -2018.

Houston County

Small Fruit and Vegetable Production: STAY TUNED!

Houston County Extension Office

Pre-registration required.  Contact: Charlotte Meeks cmote1@uga.edu

Greene County

Small Fruit and Vegetable Production: STAY TUNED!

Greene County Extension Office

Pre-registration required. Contact: David Daniel dldjr@uga.edu

Gwinnett County 

Small Fruit and Vegetable Production: June 15 (8-4), June 16 (8-3), June 17 (8-12)

Gwinnett County Government Annex Building

Cost: $75

Pre-registration required. Sign-up Online: https://t.uga.edu/37e

Contact: Tim Daly tdaly@uga.edu

Walker County

Small Farm Business Training: June 2 and 16 10am-3pm Rescheduling due to low enrollment. STAY TUNED!

Walker County Ag Center

Cost: $50

Pre-registration required.
Contact Dade County Extension Office (706) 657-4116 or contact Katie Hammond (khammond@uga.edu)

Walker County

Small Ruminant Production Training: July 14, 21 and 28; 10am-3pm Rescheduling due to low enrollment. STAY TUNED!

Walker County Ag Center

Cost: $60

Pre-registration required.
Contact Dade County Extension Office (706) 657-4116 or contact Katie Hammond (khammond@uga.edu)

 

Who Should Attend?

Who is a beginning farmer?  USDA defines a beginning farmer as anyone who has been farming less than ten years continuously.  The Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program is focused on those interested in starting a farm business or those who have recently begun farming and want to improve their operation.

What Kind of Training Does the Program Provide?

Interested farmers will first attend one of two different Small Farm Business Planning trainings: AgAware program run by AgCredit, or Small Farm Business Planning Training.  The business training offered in your area is selected by the extension team hosting the training in your area.

Ag Aware is a one-day workshop aimed at young, beginning, small and minority farmers.  The workshop covers farm business topics including: lessons learned from successful small farms, balance sheets, income statements, family finance and budgeting, applying for financing, risk management, marketing and technology, as well as preparing a business plan.  Successful participants will have the foundation to prepare their own farm business plan.  They also receive a FSA borrower certificate and a certificate of completion. Participants in Ag Aware are eligible to enroll in either the Small Fruit & Vegetable Production or Small Ruminants Production trainings. For a detailed training description click here.

Small Farm Business Planning is four 2-hour sessions developed in partnership with the UGA Small Business Development Center, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and Georgia Organics.  Topics include lessons learned from successful small farms, market feasibility, balance sheets, income statements, risk management, marketing and technology, as well as preparing a business plan.  Successful participants will have the foundation to prepare their own farm business plan. Once the farmer has successfully completed the training, they will be eligible to enroll in either the Small Fruit & Vegetable Production or the Small Ruminant Production training.  For a detailed training description click here.

The next step is production training.

Small Fruit & Vegetable Production is a seven week training developed in partnership with Georgia Organics and the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.  Topics include: Soil health and fertility, soil amendments and fertilizers, cover crops, crop rotations, pest management, crop selection, crop propagation, equipment, post-harvest handling, food safety, and marketing. For a detailed training description click here.

Small Ruminant Production is a six week training developed by Fort Valley State University in partnership with UGA Extension. Topics include: goat and sheep breeds and selection, nutrition and body scoring, pasture management, predator control, health and diseases, reproduction and kidding/lambing, integrated parasite management, as well as meats and marketing. The training includes a session with live animals to practice body condition scoring, hoof trimming and checking for internal parasites. For a detailed training description click here.

Farmers that successfully complete one of the business trainings, one of the production trainings and pass the knowledge evaluation for each training will be eligible for the Hands-On Production training. There is limited availability for the Hands-On Production training and while we will make our best effort to accommodate all qualified participants, not everyone is guaranteed a spot.

The Hands-On Production training for those interested in Small Fruit & Vegetable Production will be coordinated by Georgia Organics in conjunction with Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.  For farmers with their own land, they will assign a farmer mentor to help them improve their operations.  Would-be farmers that do not have access to land will be placed in an internship with a small stipend or possibly on an incubator farm where they can grow and sell their own produce.  For more information, contact – Tenisio Seanima, Georgia Organics Farmer Services Coordinator at tenisio@georgiaorganics.org.

The Hands-On Production training for those interested in small ruminant production will be coordinated by Fort Valley State University.  They will help farmers with land and an existing herd find a farmer mentor to help them improve their operation.  They will also help find internship positions for would-be farmers without land or an existing herd. For more information, contact – Dr. Niki Whitley at whitleyn@fvsu.edu.

                         

This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture under award number 2015-70017-22861. It is a partnership between UGA, Georgia Organics, Fort Valley State University, UGA Small Business Development Center, AgSouth, Georgia Department of Agriculture, and the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association.

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