FarmsNOW is an advanced training program that is designed for the student who has a solid foundation of farm knowledge, skills, experience, and the goal of running their own farm enterprise. This program will take beginning farmers to the next step, prepping them for running a successful independent business. FarmsNOW is designed for those seeking mastery in the art and business of farming—the program will dig deep into planning, designing and running integrated farming systems.
The program has three areas of educational focus:
Field-based training and hands-on learning-
The majority of the program will be focused on learning by doing. Over time, the students will be expected to share responsibilities with the farmers. These responsibilities could include overseeing transplant crew and harvest crew, helping with wash and pack, tractor cultivation, field walks and observation, record keeping, produce deliveries, setting up and running farmers markets and general farm maintenance.
Practical skills and business classes and seminars-
In addition to the hands-on training provided by our host farms, students will attend a series of classes facilitated by RFC and Oregon State University Small Farms Program.
Classroom and seminar topics may include:
Managing labor & human resources
Choosing & maintaining farm equipment
Designing irrigation systems
Enterprise selection & diversification
Integrating perennial & annual cropping systems
Post-harvest handling/food safety
Long-term soil fertility/advanced soil science
Book-keeping/income & expense tracking/cash flow
Peer to peer networking-
Students in FarmsNOW will have the opportunity to meet and network with local farmers and agricultural professionals. RFC will organize farm tours and will host potluck discussion circles to bring together partners from across the agricultural community.
Based in four locations throughout Oregon, RFC brings together hands-on training, classroom learning and farm-based experience on a diverse network of commercial family farms to provide opportunities for beginners to train to launch their own farm business.
The next two-year cohort begins in March of 2015. To find a complete FarmsNOW program description, information on our host farms, and an application, please visit: http://roguefarmcorps.org