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September 25, 2011

Farm briefs: Sept. 18, 2011

Fall online courses for farmers offered

ITHACA — The Northeast Beginning Farmer Project is offering online course for farmers, and six out of seven, including four new topics, are still open for registration.

Courses are taught by experienced Cooperative Extension educators, farmers and other specialists. Courses are usually six weeks long, cost $175 and include both real-time meetings (online webinars) and on-your-own-time reading and activities. No academic credits are offered, but those who successfully complete a course will receive a certificate and are also eligible for Farm Service Agency (FSA) borrower training credit, which can improve eligibility to receive a low-interest FSA loan.

To write a farm business plan, participants may sign up for the BF 202: Planning to Stay in Business course, which will help document the feasibility of a business and prepare to seek funding from banks and other lenders. For guidance in setting up a record-keeping systems, BF 104: Financial Records is available.

BF 120: Veggie Farming is divided into two parts (with BF 121 being offered in January). BF 120 covers the planning, budgeting, site selection and planting, while BF 121 will take participants through considerations in season-long care, harvest and marketing.

A new course, BF 130: Poultry Production, will cover the basic requirements of producing and profiting from chickens, ducks and turkeys.

BF 105: Machinery and Equipment is another new course designed to help weigh options and make smart decisions about the best equipment for any farm situation.

BF 110: Soil Health returns to introduce growers to practical on-farm applications of soil-health concepts. This course will again incorporate an optional in-person field day at a farm in Northern New York that will demonstrate improvement of soil health.

To learn more, visit http://nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses. From this site, visit the Annual Course Calendar, learn more about instructors, see answers to frequently asked questions, read details for each course and visit a sample online course.

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