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is your future in farming?

Posted: September 5 2011

12-week course starts Sept 20 in Everett.

Growing New Farmers Critical to Regional Food Security
Ensuring there are enough people with the skills to step into the shoes of retiring farmers is the focus of 12-week course.
According  to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the number of farmers  continues to shrink, their average age continues to rise. Almost 40  percent of the farmers in this country are at least 55 years old.  Without a steady stream of new farmers to replace them, the future of  farming is not at all certain. While interest in small acreage farming  and ranching increases each season, many of these new farmers have few  opportunities to gain the skills for success.
To  help fill that need, and make the connection between farmers new and  old, a collaborative effort developed the award-winning Cultivating  Success series of courses. First in the series, the 12-week course Sustainable Small-Acreage Farming and Ranching will be held on Tuesdays, 6:00pm to 9:00pm starting Sept. 20, 2011 at WSU Snohomish County Extension's Cougar Auditorium, 600 128th St SE, Everett.
Sustainable Small-Acreage Farming and Ranching helps participants explore the unique advantages available to the small  farm and ranch owner. Sponsored by WSU Snohomish County Extension and  Snohomish Conservation District, the course gives participants a broad  overview of production and marketing options for today's small farm.  Whether you are just exploring the opportunities available or already  have an existing operation, you'll learn what it takes to create and  sustain a viable small farm enterprise.
According  to recent Cultivating Success graduates Casey and Eric Reeter, they took the course to, "check our 'hypothetical' plans against the experts  and those who have practical experience...we [now have] the confidence and  resources to take some risks and dive in to our new farm adventure."  They executed their farm plan and are currently in production. Casey  checks their field operations against the overall plan to ensure they  stay on course with their goals. "The plan we created in class acts as a  compass for us; we make adjustments along the way, but we always know  our direction."
Weekly  presentations include local growers, organizations, and university  specialists with expertise in direct marketing, value-added processing,  production planning, agronomy, livestock production, and more. In  addition, two Saturday field trips will visit nearby farms to learn  about different styles of successful small farm enterprises.
Course  facilitator, Holly Thompson, is a Stanwood Angus beef rancher and WSU  graduate in animal science and agriculture economics with an MS in agriculture education. Well-versed in farm economics,  sustainable practices, and current market trends, Thompson also  facilitates Agricultural Entrepreneurship, the farm business planning course in the series and has worked for Northwest Farm Credit Services as a loan officer.
Class size is limited. Cost for the twelve-week course is $275 per farm or family.
Pre-registration is required. Download the form HERE and mail with your check. For more information on the course, contact Andrew Corbin at [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] or (425) 357-6012. Contact Karie Christensen,
[email protected] [mailto:[email protected]], (425) 357-6039 for  registration information.
Extension  programs and policies are consistent with federal and state laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation. Evidence of  non-compliance may be reported through your local Extension Office.Persons  with a disability requiring special accommodation can request  accommodation 21 days before training at (425) 338.2400. If  accommodation is not requested in advance, we cannot guarantee  availability on-site.

everett, wa


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