OK, so you’ve been working on farms for a couple of years – now what?

Rogue Farm Corps logoThat’s the dilemma a lot of beginning farmers face, and it’s one that the folks at Rogue Farm Corps (RFC) are working to address. 

Based in Oregon’s Rogue and Southern Willamette Valleys, RFC brings together hands-on training, classroom learning and farm-based experience on a diverse network of commercial family farms to provide opportunities for beginners to train to launch their own farm business.

While the FarmsNext program is oriented to those will no prior experience, the FarmsNOW advanced program is designed to take beginning farmers that extra step, prepping them for running a successful independent business.

Starting this March for the next two-year cohort, the program has three areas of educational focus:

Field-based training and hands-on learning

Students will be expected to share responsibilities with the farmers. Tasks include overseeing transplant crew and harvest crew, helping with wash and pack, tractor cultivation, field walks and observation, record keeping,  produce deliveries, setting up and running farmers markets and general farm maintenance.

Practical skills and business classes and seminars

Rogue Farm Corps lettuce picIn addition to the hands-on training provided by Blue Fox Farm, interns will attend a series of classes facilitated by RFC and OSU Extension Small Farms.

For example, classroom/seminar topics may include:

  • Managing labor & human resources
  • Choosing & maintaining farm equipment
  • Designing irrigation systems
  • Enterprise selection & diversification
  • Integrating perennial & annual cropping systems
  • Post-harvest handling/food safety
  • Long-term soil fertility/advanced soil science
  • Book-keeping/income & expense tracking/cash flow

Peer to peer networking

Students in the FarmsNOW program will have the opportunity to meet and network with local farmers and agricultural professionals. RFC will organize farm tours and will host potluck discussion circles to bring together partners from across the agricultural community.

Find out more information and apply by visiting the RFC website.  Want to hear about more opportunities?  Check out NYFC’s Jobs Board on the Farmers Forum!

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