November 2018
Farm & Field

Farming Basics for Beginners

Alabama Extension offers a variety of resources to help budding farmers.

 

More people than ever are interested in giving farming a try. In the past, people turned to farming family members for help. Today, many interested would-be farmers don’t have that luxury.

To help budding farmers get started, Alabama Extension has stepped up to the plate to help in several ways. Several years ago, I offered a Farmer 101 class that was very well received and now these classes are offered across the state. For instance, Cullman and Morgan County are teaming up after the new year to offer a Beginning Fruit and Vegetable Short Course that will alternate between those two counties. Other locations across the state are also offering various versions of beginning farmer courses. To find out about this and other classes visit: http://www.aces.edu/beginningfarms.

You will also find many other resources at that website and among them is a new free online course, Farming Basics. This course addresses critical topics in agriculture that beginning farmers need to understand. If you plan to take one of the short courses offered around the state this will be good supplemental material.

 

Alabama Extension Director Gary Lemme calls the course a groundbreaking digital effort. "Anyone who is considering farming but has little to no experience will reap rewards by completing the course," says Lemme.

Farming Basics’ five chapters feature video presentations and additional resources, which enhance the course’s content depth. A short quiz at the end of each chapter offers participants the opportunity to review and reinforce content concepts. The course takes about two hours to complete. Upon completion, participants receive a certificate.

Dr. Ayanava Majumdar, Farming Basics project leader, says more than 200 people pre-registered for the course before it was even out.

"Farming is challenging for experienced farmers, and it can be overwhelming to people new to it," says Majumdar. "Our goal with Farming Basics is to help new producers develop knowledge and critical skills, enabling them to reduce mistakes and achieve profitability more rapidly."

The course covers farm management and marketing, pesticide safety, food safety, basic crop production and pest management. You can find the course at the link above or go directly to it at: aces.catalog.auburn.edu.

This course is part of Alabama Extension’s overarching Beginning Farmer program, a collaborative effort of a wide range of institutions, producer organizations and nonprofit agencies. The Alabama Beginning Farmer Program is funded by a grant from the USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program.

If you are interested in details about the Beginning Fruit and Vegetable Short Course being offered jointly by the Cullman and Morgan County Extension offices, you may contact me at (256)737-9386 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Tony A. Glover is a County Extension Coordinator in Cullman County.