I’m pleasantly surprised by the number of people who didn’t grow up on a farm but are interested in trying their hand at farming. Most want to do it on the side and keep their day job. Others are retiring and want to take over active management of the family farm or retire to one.
Many are young and interested in how their children grow up and the food they eat. Either way, folks interested in getting back to the land have a great program coming up.
University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension offices in eight central Kentucky counties have joined together to offer the KyFarmStart beginning farmer program this fall.
KyFarmStart is a comprehensive whole farm management education program designed for beginning farmers (those who have been managing a farm for less than 10 years as a primary operator), as well as those considering a future in farming.
The program will offer multiple educational opportunities, including classroom instruction, field days and farm demonstrations.
New and future farmers may be so overwhelmed by the decisions in running a farm that they have trouble getting launched successfully. KyFarmStart was developed to solve this problem by providing beginning farmers with a basic foundation of production, marketing, management, technical and networking skills needed to develop a successful farm operation.
KyFarmStart seeks to provide beginning farmers with the “tools” they will need to evaluate their own situation and to make wise management decisions. One of the primary goals of this program is to assist producers in developing a whole farm management plan.
The first KyFarmStart session is Sept.18, with meetings from noon to 3 p.m. every Thursday for the following nine weeks, with lunch provided. The first session will be at the Jessamine County Extension Office, with the following sessions at various locations in central Kentucky, including field days to University of Kentucky and other farms.
Sessions will focus on essential management skills, including farm recordkeeping, marketing, enterprise evaluation, nutrient management and soils, evaluation of natural resources, legal considerations, government resources, business plans, production, farmstead management, and leadership development. Commodity specific field days, an equipment use and safety day and a fencing day are being planned, as well.
If you are interested in taking part in this program or need more information, call the Scott County Cooperative Extension Service at 502-863-0984. The cost of this program is $100 per farm (maximum two people per farm) or $50 per participant. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Enrollment is limited to 50 participants.
To reserve your place in the class, send your $50 deposit payable by check to Scott County office by Sept. 11. Make checks payable to Scott County Extension District Board. Balance of payment is due at the first meeting.
KyFarmStart is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer Rancher Program. This program is sponsored by UK’s College of Agriculture and the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.
Collaborators include Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, Community Farm Alliance, Kentucky Dairy Development Counsel, and Catholic Charities of Louisville’s Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program, and Growing Warriors. For additional program information go to: http://www.ca.uky.edu/kyfarmstart/.