I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
The Cultivating Success Sustainable Small-Acreage Farming and Ranching courses being taught by WSU Snohomish County Extension in Everett help participants learn what it takes to create, sustain, and grow a small farming or ranching operation. We spoke with course facilitator Holly Thompson about how the courses are helping to grow new farmers by teaching participants about sustainable crop and livestock production, enterprise budgeting, and direct marketing to the customer, which she says many course participants hadn't even thought about.
THOMPSON: We really can't compete, at least at a beginning level, with the wholesale market, and they have to know which customer they're targeting. So it's a super 13 to 14 weeks of diving in to this and evaluating all aspects of this farm operation, and they write a farm plan.
Thompson says that guest speakers, which consist of local growers, ag industry experts and university specialists provided weekly presentations.
THOMPSON: There's a great opportunity for Q & A and there's a super opportunity for these students to then build a network, which is also a big hurdle for folks who have not been in this industry. My job as an educator is to find out what their needs are and to link them up with folks in the industry, including WSU extension and other resources and to take real-life information and knowledge to make practical decisions.
Past participants of the Cultivating Success courses include Petrina and Jonathan Fisher of Skylight Farms who credit a large part of their farm's thriving success to the farm plan they put together during the courses. The Cultivating Success courses are funded in part through grants from USDA. For more information visit wsu.edu.
That's Washington Ag Today.
I'm Lacy Gray with the Ag Information Network of the West.