Rutgers Cooperative Extension is now enrolling a new cohort of beginner farmers for this season’s training program.
Now is an exciting time for beginner farmers in New Jersey—innovative new technologies and products have created new opportunities and markets for those that are just getting started. RU Ready to Farm connects beginners with a network of successful farmers and agricultural support professionals from around the State and region.
Registration is now open for the second annual online course of RU Ready to Farm, the beginner farmer training program from the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension. This online course is the first step for new and beginner farmers who want to learn what it takes to succeed in New Jersey agriculture. The program is led by Middlesex County agricultural agent Bill Hlubik and the RU Ready to Farm team and provides students with a wealth of information on how to become a part of the next generation of New Jersey farmers. The course features speakers from Rutgers NJAES, agricultural support agencies, and the farm community, and will provide insight and guidance to new and beginner farmers from around the state. The program:
- Helps to prepare new and beginner farmers to succeed in New Jersey agriculture.
- Examines issues that many new farmers face, such as finding land, obtaining financing, and deciding what to produce.
- Provides information on upcoming beginner farmer grant and funding opportunities from the USDA and other farm support agencies.
- Explores how to develop a farm business plan, and what new farmers should include in the plan.
- Features successful farmers discussing what has worked for them.
- Includes tours of active farms throughout the summer and fall.
“What makes our program unique is the breadth of information that our team provides to program participants,” said program director Bill Hlubik. “Combining online instruction with guided farm tours allows students to learn about the industry while gaining first-hand insight into how farmers operate. RU Ready to Farm will help you develop your ideas into an actionable plan, whether you dream of farming 20 acres or two.”
The price for this course is $400. Register now at: https://go.rutgers.edu/4biehbmc
The RU Ready to Farm beginner farmer training program is supported by Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant no. 2020-70017-32784 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Feedback from participants in the first RU Ready to Farm course is a good indicator of the success of the program. Here’s what some participants had to say:
“This program so far has really exceeded expectations. For someone like myself with no farming background but definitely interested in finding out if farming is something I’d like to pursue – I couldn’t have asked for more from this program.”
“Throughout my life I can identify a handful of moments that have sparked exciting periods of learning and growth. For me, the RU Beginner Farmer Program has been one of these moments. The program includes a network of incredibly knowledgeable teachers, farmers & industry experts along with a library of useful information and resources that helps make the complex world of agriculture more accessible to a novice like me. I’m looking forward to taking everything I’ve learned in class and on our farm trips and applying it in the field during the next phase of this program.”
“I feel very fortunate to have been referred to RU Ready to Farm. While I am still on the path that I fantasized about, I now realize that there is much more planning on the business side that I need to consider. RU Ready to Farm has shown me what I need to consider in order to make my farm a success. When I discuss my farm plans with friends, I now hear the lessons that I have learned from R U Ready to Farm; they are equally impressed.”