Jul 28, 2016
Journeyman Farmer registration now open

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is set to offer a second year of the Journeyman Farmer training for beginning and young farmers this August, with registration now open.

This multi-session crash course provides information on business planning, vegetable and fruit production, or goat and sheep husbandry for those thinking about starting a farm and those who are new to farming. Participants also have the opportunity for a hands-on training to gain farm experience.

Farmers who complete the entire training will receive a Journeyman Farmer Certificate, signifying that they have completed coursework in business planning, production training and hands-on training.

This is the second year that the partnership with UGA’s Sustainable Agriculture Program has offered this training. The 2015 class provided training to 60 farmers from 11 counties.

The partnership hopes to expand the number of farmers served this year by conducting the trainings throughout the state, including Screven Co., Carroll Co., Dougherty Co. and in metro Atlanta. Participants need to register before the business training classes in August to be eligible for their Journey Farmer certificate.

The first step of the training program is small farm business planning. The UGA Small Business Development Center — a unit of the Office of Public Service and Outreach — and AgSouth Farm Credit will provide business planning and financing workshops to the farmers.

After completing the small farm business training, participants can enroll in the production training offered in their area, choosing Small Fruit and Vegetable Production or Small Ruminants Production. These production areas were chosen because there is demand for these crops and to help beginning farmers start farming on small parcels of land.

“Goat production is an ideal enterprise for beginning farmers because of (growing) demand for goat meat in the United States and because they do not require an intensive system,” said Tom Terrill, part of the of FVSU team led by Niki Whitley. “Goats can utilize brush, broadleaf weeds and grasses on marginal land and still be productive.” Whitley also heads up the Hands-on Training which will allow beginning farmers to gain experience on a working farm.

Georgia Organics is leading the Hands-on Training for farmers interested in small fruit and vegetable production that will offer internships and/or mentoring experiences.

The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UGA Small Business Development Center, Georgia Organics, the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Fort Valley State University and AgSouth Farm Credit, along with other partners, are developing the training and mentorship program.

This Journeyman Farmer program is funded by a 2016 USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Grant. For more information about Georgia’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, visit www.SustainAgGA.org.

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