Training for beginner farmers begins Aug. 5

JAMESTOWN – Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County announces that a three-day training for beginning farmers will be held on Monday evenings, Aug. 5, 12, and 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Jamestown Frank W. Bratt Agricultural Center (3542 Turner Road, Jamestown).

The class is geared toward prospective farmers in Chautauqua County, and will focus on topics related to beginning and managing a small farm business. The course, called “Get Growing,” is designed for those looking to examine whether farming is right for them.

Cornell Cooperative Extension educator Virginia Carlberg said, “The course is really geared toward individuals and families who would like to explore their small farm dream. It will be broadly based on the business side of a farm operation, so it is suited to any type and size of prospective farm operation, from small livestock to vegetables and fruits.”

Once the course is completed, participants may apply to enroll in the Get Growing! Program, where they will be matched with farmer mentors, meet with fellow beginning farmers to develop a support network, and attend monthly grow meetings on various topics pertinent to further developing their farming plans.

“The concept of continuing to meet on a regular basis with beginning farmers is to build a network of farms coming into production at the same time. It is my hope that these farmers will share their experiences with each other and can even develop beneficial arrangements for sharing equipment and resources. And a mentorship program is critical for new farmers so that they can learn from those with years of experience and with wisdom to share,” Carlberg said.

In order to register for the “Get Growing” Beginning Farmer Course, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension to receive a registration form at 664-9502 x202. Registrations are due by Aug. 2. There is a fee of $60 per family, which will cover all printed materials, including a copy of the “Guide to Farming in New York State,” and several other printed publications from Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

The class is co-sponsored by Soil and Water Conservation District, Small Business Development Center, Farm Credit East, and Farm Service Agency. Cornell Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.