Upcoming Small Farms Online Course Season Features New Courses

Are you looking to improve your technical or business skills to benefit your farming operation? Consider joining one of our more than 30 online courses during live instruction this upcoming online course season.

The Cornell Small Farms Program is excited to announce that our upcoming online course season will begin live webinars this fall, and will feature new courses to offer even more learning opportunities. New additions to our online course suite include “Growing Uncommon Fruit,” which will help you determine whether incorporating uncommon fruit into your operation is the right decision for you, and “Farm Strategies for Farmer Well-Being” on strategies to make your farm feel more manageable.

In addition to new courses, we are expanding our Spanish-first online course offerings with our “BF 101: Cómo Iniciar su Negocio Agrícola,” “BF 102: Mercados y Rentabilidad,” and “BF 204: QuickBooks para Negocios Agrícolas” (el cursó se lanzará a principios del 2024).

Our growing team of online course instructors includes experienced farmers, extension educators, and agriculture service providers. The online courses are offered on a user-friendly platform, which grants registrants permanent access to their course content. Also, courses have tiered pricing based on household size and income to make access to the courses more affordable and equitable for everyone.

Registration is now open for all courses, with live content starting in September for our first block of courses.

  • BF 101: Starting at Square One
    • So you’re thinking about starting a farm, but feeling overwhelmed by all the decisions? This course was designed to assist new and aspiring farmers in taking the first steps in thinking through farm start-up (whether you already have land access or not).
  • BF 101: Cómo Iniciar su Negocio Agrícola
    • ¿Está pensando en comenzar un negocio agrícola propio, pero se siente confundiso por todas las decisiones que esto involucra? Este curso esta diseñado para ayudar a los agricultores nuevos y aspirantes a dar los primeros pasos para iniciar su propio negocio agrícola (finca, rancho, granja) ya sea que tenga acceso a la tierra o no.
  • BF 112: Reading the Land
    • This course is a 4-week exploration of how you can confirm and/or measure improved land health. You will learn how to read the land, and how to conduct various biological monitoring practices, from simple to more complex.
  • BF 149: Identifying and Partnering with Mushrooms in Farms, Gardens and Forests
    • Gain an overview of foundational knowledge needed to understand how mushrooms might play a role in your farm and/or greater community. You will learn the basic biology and life cycle, how to properly harvest and identify a specimen, and receive basic information and examples of ways humans are using mushrooms successfully depending on their goals and context.
  • BF 202: Writing a Business Plan
    • Arm yourself with a business plan and you will have a guide to aid your farm decision-making and demonstrate to yourself and your family that your ideas are feasible. This course is designed to help you build your plan, including developing financial statements.
  • BF 204: Quickbooks for Farmers
    • Are you a beginning farmer? Or are you a current farmer with the desire to switch to an online accounting system? Then our quick guide to Quickbooks is for you. Learn the software’s basic features, such as sales tax, inventory, invoicing, adjustments, and year-end procedures.
  • BF 233: Beef Cattle Management
    • This new course will show you how having a successful cattle business is about much more than just buying a few head and putting them in a field. Learn about appropriate breeds, marketing strategies, and many more aspects of starting a beef enterprise.

Our program offers nearly three dozen online courses to help farmers improve their technical and business skills. These courses cover a range of topics any farmer needs to succeed, such as soil healthholistic financial planningpoultry productionvegetable farming, and so much more. Experienced farmers, extension educators, and agriculture service providers guide students through course content, including weekly live webinars, videos, and resources.

Last year we added “Goat Production,” which will guide beginning farmers through the production and marketing of goats for dairy, meat and fiber, and “Identifying and Partnering with Mushrooms in Farms, Gardens and Forests” to teach you basic ID, species, life cycle, and potential applications of mushrooms to solve community-level challenges. In recent years we’ve also added: “Access to Capital” for anyone seeking funding for a farm enterprise; “Cut Flower Production” on the business of flower farming; a course on “Beef Cattle Management;” a primer on “Social Media & Online Marketing” for your farm business; and a 4-week intensive in how “Reading the Land” can help you monitor its health.

The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in Teachable, our online course platform. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the interface of the course for a dedicated time slot each year to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from presenters and ask questions in real-time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.

You can browse all of our course offerings on our website. You can learn more about our courses, including answers to common questions, on our course FAQ.

Kacey Deamer

Kacey is the Communications Manager for the Cornell Small Farms Program. In this role, she manages all storytelling and outreach across the program’s website, social media, e-newsletter, magazine and more. Kacey has worked in communications and journalism for more than a decade, with a primary focus on science and sustainability.
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