Growing New Farmers
I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
By 2050 there will be more than 9 billion people on the planet who need to eat. That, and the fact that the average age of the American farmer is 57, means we need to make sure that the next generation of farmers are ready and raring to go. WSU's Snowhomish County Extension Cultivating Success Sustainable Small-Acreage Farming and Ranching courses help participants learn what it takes to create, sustain, and grow a small farming or ranching operation. Course facilitator, Holly Thompson, who has an extensive farming and ranching background and is a WSU graduate in animal science and agriculture economics with an MS in agriculture education, says that the first course in the series is what she likes to call the "how to farm" class.
THOMPSON: There's everything from sustainable crop production, to livestock production, grazing management. There is a section on enterprise budgets, which is critical. There's also a great section on soil management, integrated pest management and weed management.
Marketing is also a key component of the course.
THOMPSON: We do a real good introduction to what direct marketing is and branding. And really what I see in this population of folks that say "I think I want to farm, I have this dream of farming" - I see and I tell folks really two things. The first is start small; start it as a hobby and expand from there. And the second thing I say is direct market to the customer.
Thompson will be back tomorrow to share more about the Cultivating Success courses and how they're helping to grow new farmers.
That's Washington Ag Today.
I'm Lacy Gray with the Ag Information Network of the West.