online courses from NE beginning farmers

posted August 13, 2013

Terrific offerings and a guide to choosing which courses are best for you.


With the growing season at its peak, it’s hard to believe that the “down” season is just a couple months away. Use that slow season wisely to continue your farming education with a selection of 12 online courses. Registration is open now and some courses fill quickly, so be sure to check them out soon!

Our courses are taught by experienced Cooperative Extension educators, farmers, and other specialists. Courses are 6 weeks long, cost $200, and include both real-time meetings (online webinars) and on-your-own time reading and activities. We do not offer any academic credit, 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 your eligibility to receive a low-interest FSA loan.

We’ve got several courses that will help you build the “invisible infrastructure” of your farm business:

Our introductory-level courses for those still in the exploring and early planning stages, BF 101: Square One and BF 102: Markets and Profits, are back, to help you get clear about your goals, skills, and available resources, and explore possibilities for selling products and making money as a farmer.

If you’re well beyond that stage and ready to write a full business plan, sign up for the BF 202: Planning to Stay in Business course, which will help you prepare to seek funding from banks and other lenders

BF 103: Taking Care of Business is for the beginner looking for information about the legal, regulatory, insurance, and tax implications of running a farm business.

Need some guidance setting up financial recordkeeping systems? Then BF 104: Financial Records is for you.

Ready to get serious about profitability after a few years of production? Check out BF 203: Holistic Financial Planning, which will help you take control of your farm’s financial situation.

BF 201: Effective Marketing for the Busy Farmer will help you refocus your marketing efforts to sell more product with less work.

On the production side, we offer:

BF 120 and BF 121: Veggie Farming is a two-part course back by popular demand. BF 120 covers the planning, budgeting, site selection, and planting, while BF 121 will pick up where BF 120 leaves off and take you through considerations in season-long care, harvest, and marketing.

For poultry farmers, we again offer the well-received BF 130: Poultry Production, to cover the basic requirements of producing and profiting from chickens, ducks, and turkeys.

Producing berries and small fruits is a popular enterprise on many Northeast farms, and we bring together experts to provide you with the latest and best information about siting, pest and weed management, varieties, and marketing these fruits in BF 122: Berry Production.

Thinking of going organic? The certification process can be overwhelming. Get guidance from BF 106: Organic Certification.

To learn more about each course, please visit From this site you can learn more about our instructors, see answers to Frequently Asked Questions, read details for each course, and view the calendar of course offerings for 2013-2014.

Courses often fill very quickly, so don’t miss your chance to sign up today!