Register Now to Learn with Us in the New Year

The online course season is almost halfway through, and now’s the time to register for our upcoming block three courses which begin in the new year. These courses cover a range of topics any farmer needs to succeed, such as ​soil health​, ​holistic financial planning​, ​sheep production​, ​season extension, and so much more.

Our suite of online courses is 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 open for all courses, with live content starting mid-January for our third block of courses.

  • Access to Capital​
    • Mondays: January 15 – February 19
    • It can be very difficult to navigate the process of getting grants or loans, especially if you did not come to farming with a background in finance. This course will cover the various aspects of seeking funding for a farm enterprise.
  • Vegetable Production II
    • Mondays: January 15 – February 19
    • Continue where Vegetable Production I leaves off – expand upon production from transplanting to harvest, including information on in-season fertility, integrated pest management, weed control options, harvesting strategies, and tips for marketing your products.
  • Indoor Specialty Mushroom Production​​
    • Tuesdays: January 16 – February 20
    • Mushrooms are an emerging niche crop and can easily be grown. This course trains new and experienced farmers in the background, techniques, marketing, and economics of farm-scale indoor commercial production.
  • Holistic Financial Planning​
    • Tuesdays: January 16 – February 20
    • If you’ve been struggling to make your farm operation profitable without driving yourself into the ground, this financial planning course is for you. You will learn how to make financial decisions toward farm and family values and goals.
  • Mercados y Rentabilidad
    • Martes: 16 de Enero – 20 de Febrero
    • ¿Tiene una idea para una empresa agrícola pero no está seguro de si es factible? Este curso le ayudará a explorar los mercados potenciales y la rentabilidad de sus ideas, retomando el punto donde lo dejó BF 101: Como Iniciar su Negocios Agrícola. (Si no tomo BF 101, no hay problema, aun así puede tomar BF 102).
  • Goat Production​
    • Wednesdays: January 17 – February 21
    • Interesting in incorporating goats for dairy, meat, or fiber? Goats can function as a profitable stand-alone enterprise or can be integrated into your existing farm structure to provide a variety of products and make use of marginal lands that would otherwise go unused.
  • ​Season Extension with High Tunnels​
    • Wednesdays: January 17 – February 21
    • Adding weeks to your growing season can mean attaining a premium for having products available well before (or long after) other local growers. This course will introduce you to unheated plastic-covered “high tunnels,” covering cost, management and more.
  • Sheep Production​
    • Wednesdays: January 17 – February 21
    • Have sheep or thinking about getting a flock? Producers of all experience levels will find something for them in this lively, wide-ranging course. There is no one right way to raise sheep — this course covers many of these different options.
  • Soil Health
    • Wednesdays: January 17 – February 21
    • Learn how to develop a holistic approach to preserve and build healthy soil. The health and productivity of the soil forms the basis for any farm’s success, profitability, and ecological sustainability.

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. Experienced farmers, extension educators, and agriculture service providers guide students through course content, including weekly live webinars, videos, and resources.

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, “Tree Fruit Scouting” on effective pest management, 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 more coming soon.

Last year we added “Goat Production,” which guides 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.

Our growing team of online course instructors includes experienced farmers, extension educators, and agriculture service providers. 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.

We are now offering need-based scholarships for free tuition for up to 2 online courses to eligible applicants who face an entry barrier to farming due to economic or systemic disparities, who cannot otherwise afford to enroll and/or who lack access to farmer training resources in their community. This includes people who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), LGBTQIA2S+, and those suffering from recent extenuating circumstances, like job loss. We consider applications based on an assessment of equity, need, and the resources we have available at the time of the request. Learn more and apply by December 10.

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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