Starting this January, Scaling Up will bring together a group of 6-18 farmers with about 4 -7 years of experience who are seeking to grow their operations and plan for long-term viability. Participants convene for a series of two-day sessions hosted at the Copake Agricultural Center in Copake, NY, in which they will refine business and production plans and learn from fellow farmers and educators.
Participating farmers will deepen their knowledge of the following topics related to scaling up their operations: Business Planning, Administrative Skills, Marketing & Distribution, Leadership, Soil Fertility, Land Acquisition Planning, Equipment, and Production Systems. Participants can choose between tracks for livestock or vegetable production. Participant interest will guide the curriculum and activities.
- Assess their current operations for challenges and opportunities.
- Gain the management skills needed to successfully manage their growing business
- Refine and peer-review written plans for marketing, production, and finances.
- Emerge with updated business plans.
- Receive a certificate of completion upon finishing the program.
Farmers will gather for ten two-day sessions at the beginning of each month from January 2014 to April 2014, pause for the growing season, then reconvene October 2014 to March 2015. On-farm lodging and local food meals will be provided by the Center. Group preference will determine exact scheduling.
Sessions will include time the classroom, hands-on activities, and peer-to-peer exchange. Farmers and educators will lead presentations and activities, and participants will break into groups for discussions and projects. The new Copake Agricultural Center’s 194 acres will act as stage for in-field learning, through field walks, facility tours, and shop demonstrations. The sessions include ample time for meeting with fellow farmers.
For this pilot year, program costs are $1000 for ten sessions, lodging, and all meals. Tuition reduction is available through a work-study arrangement. To set up a work-study arrangement, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.