Invest in Your Farm Education this Winter

Evaluation Shows Online Courses Inspire Action.

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Online courses can be taken from the comfort of your own home or barn!

Too busy to travel to a workshop or conference?  Have you ever thought of taking an online course to advance your farming education?  Whether you are a new, aspiring or experienced farmer, the Northeast Beginning Farmers Project offers interactive 6-week courses that connect you to the information and people you need to start or diversify your farm.  The courses consist of weekly webinars with presentations by experienced educators and farmers and allow for readings and discussion on your own time.  The cost is $200 per farm to attend.

Winter 2014 Course Catalogue

The following online courses are starting soon! Tips for choosing the best course for you are available.

  • Organize Your Farm Business Records
    with Financial Record-Keeping, BF 104
    Jan 13 – Feb 17, 2014
  • Plan for Profit, Reduce Stress
    with Holistic Financial Planning, BF 203
    Jan. 14 – Feb. 18, 2014
  • Understand Organic Requirements
    with Organic Certification, BF 106
    Feb. 4 – Mar 4, 2014
  • Get Introduced to Marketing & Feasibility
    with entry-level course Markets & Profits, BF 102
    Jan. 16 – Feb 20, 2014
  • Grow Vegetables
    with Vegetable Production, part II, BF 121
    Feb. 26 – Apr 2, 2014
  • Learn About Taxes, Regulations, and More
    with Taking Care of Business, BF 103
    March 10 – Apr 14, 2014

Evaluation polls from the 2012-2013 season show that students that complete courses are inspired to take action!  75 of students that completed last season’s online courses intend to further develop their business plans; 51 will invest in farm infrastructure; 37 will expand or improve their marketing; and 99 of them will improve their farm financial management or take other measures to improve farm profitability.

Students that have taken the classes say:

“As a city dweller looking to move to a farm, all the information was very eye opening. I can plan properly now that I have concrete information. I have a clearer idea of what is involved and I am still excited to try.”

“The most valuable thing about this course was that it made me hash out and put on paper each section of my business plan. It is so easy to put business plan writing on the back burner, and this course made it move to the top of my to-do list and allowed me to get all my ideas and financials into one organized document.”

“While there is no by the numbers guide to farming, this course has provided me what I think of as mental infrastructure to organize and move forward, access to great resources both online and human. In addition, the discussion forums allows me to connect with so many enthusiastic people who share a common thread to make their small (or not so small) farm a reality.”

See for more details.

Erica Frenay

Erica has had several different roles with the Small Farms Program since she began working there in 2005. In 2006 she co-founded the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project, and launched the first online course in 2007. For 10 years she facilitated and organized the Beginning Farmer Learning Network, a professional development network for service providers in the Northeast who support beginning farmers. She has shepherded the development, publishing, and updating of several key SFP publications, like the Guide to Farming in NYS, the On-Farm Poultry Processing Guide, and the Guide to Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry. As the SFP’s menu of online courses surpassed 20, she shifted her role primarily to managing these courses, providing ongoing training to instructors, and ensuring a high quality experience for students.

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