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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: Oct 17, 19, 24, 26, 2017. 9am-3pm each day

Houston County Extension Office

Cost: $70

Pre-registration required by October 10  

Contact: Charlotte Meeks at (478) 987-2028 or cmote1@uga.edu

Greene County

Small Fruit and Vegetable Production: Sept. 19, 26, Oct. 3, 2017. 3-8pm and September 23 for farm tour

Greene County Extension Office

Cost: $75

Pre-registration required by September 12

Online registration available here: https://t.uga.edu/3re

Contact: David Daniel (706) 453-2083 or dldjr@uga.edu

Walker County

Small Farm Business Training: Aug 29 and 30, 2017. 10am-2pm each day

Walker County Ag Center

Cost: $50

Pre-registration required by August 22

Online registration available here: https://t.uga.edu/3o5
Contact: Katie Hammond at (706) 657-4116 or (khammond@uga.edu)

Walker County

Small Ruminant Production Training: September 8, 15, 22, 2017. 10am-2pm each day

Walker County Ag Center

Cost: $50

Pre-registration required by September 1
Contact: Katie Hammond at (706) 657-4116 or (khammond@uga.edu)

Burke County

AgAware Training August 25, 2017. 9am-4pm.

Burke County Office Park, Waynesboro

Cost: $0

Sign up here: http://aggeorgia.com/loans/young,-beginning-and-small-farmers/agaware/agaware-registration.aspx

*Please note, we are not offering production training in Burke County, but this class can be used as Part 1 of the Program if participants want to travel to another county for Part 2.

Forsyth County

Small Farm Business Training: January 20 and 27, 2018. 10am-3pm each day

Forsyth Conference Center at Lanier Technical College

3410 Ronald Regan Boulevard, Cumming GA 30041

Cost: $50

Contact: Heather Kolich at (770) 887-2418 or hnkolich@uga.edu

Forsyth County

Small Fruit and Vegetable Training: COMING SOON!

Contact: Heather Kolich at (770) 887-2418 or hnkolich@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. Participants will be ranked based on their application responses, knowledge evaluation scores, and attendance.

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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