There is a growing need for education for new and beginning farmers as the Volunteer State gains new residents daily that are interested in living a rural lifestyle in the hills of Tennessee. As many are two or even three generations removed from life on the farm, the University of Tennessee Extension is offering programs to help educate those new to the agriculture community and those coming into management roles on the farm.
Farming Fundamentals is a new program that will launch January 1st and registration is now open. The cost of the program is $100. Sessions will cover the basic principles of farm and financial management, production practices, and more through online training modules. New producers will learn information and receive resources to build a successful farming operation. Participants who complete the program will receive certification and, if eligible, will qualify for the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program, which provides cost- share assistance to agricultural producers. More information is available at farmingfundamentals.tennessee.edu.
The need for the Farming Fundamentals program was largely identified through the Master Farm Manager Program, which is another educational opportunity for producers in all areas of agriculture. “In the first year of the Master Farm Manager Program, class surveys showed that 27% of the participants had five years or less of farming experience. The objective of this program is to help beginning producers build a strong foundation for their agricultural enterprise,” says Dr. Charley Martinez, assistant professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics leading the efforts for new and beginning farmer programming. “I’m excited for the opportunity to work with our agents and specialists to develop this program for our producers in Tennessee.”
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Dr. Martinez is also collaborating with area farm management specialists and the UT Extension MANAGE program to offer the Master Farm Manager program in 2022. Registration for the Master Farm Manager course is currently open through January 25th. This program is for both the new and beginning farmer or an experienced farmer looking to better manage an agriculture operation and utilize resources efficiently on the farm. Sessions will begin January 25th with live webinars and pre-recorded sessions. Online live classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for two weeks. In-person training opportunities are also available across the state.
More information is available at masterfarmmanager.tennessee.edu.
If you are interested in either of these programs, contact your local county Extension office for more information. Offices can be found in all 95 counties across the state with agents ready to assist you in areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, and community economic development.