Creating a Farm to Match Your Values, Goals, Skills, and Resources
So you're thinking about starting a farm, but feeling overwhelmed by all the decisions? Have your online searches turned up piles of information, but you still feel a bit lost? This course can help. It was designed to assist new and aspiring farmers in taking the first steps in thinking through farm start-up (whether you already have land access or not). Thoughtfully defining your goals and strategy before you start farming can prevent wasted time & money.
Aspiring/Beginner – This course is for those who want to make some or all of their livelihood from farming, and those who are actively planning the start-up of a farm in the next few years. Each participant will be assessing their own resources and will begin developing a farm start-up plan. You do not need to have land or know what you will grow – just that you want to explore the possibilities and learn about the steps you need to take to begin farming.
NOTE: This course covers some of the
same material as BF 202: Writing a Business Plan, but at a much more
introductory level. We recommend taking BF 101 first to prepare for the
more advanced material in BF 202, unless you already have some business and farming background.
We also recommend following this course with BF 102: Markets and Profits in order to complete your start-up plan.
If you complete all the course readings, webinars and assignments, you will:
- Compile an inventory of the resources you have that can be useful for your farm endeavor
- Have a clearer understanding of what's involved in "profitable" farming and how it relates to your personal context
- With other decision-makers for your farm, write down at least 3 clear statements of your values and how you want the farm to support your quality of life
- Discover good information resources on land assessment, financing, learning to farm, and choosing enterprises that you can continue to refer back to as you progress on your farming journey
- Practice using a holistic framework to help you make complex decisions that will impact your farm and your life
- Learn at least 3 pieces of wisdom--tips for success as well as pitfalls to avoid--from successful farmers
The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments here in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, live webinars will be woven into the online interface for 6 weeks each Fall to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from presenters and ask questions in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.
Live instruction for 2023 has concluded. You are
welcome to enroll now to complete this course on a self-paced schedule and join
our next live session in Fall 2024.
All webinars are recorded and
posted in your online classroom to watch anytime. Once enrolled in this course,
you will retain access to all materials indefinitely and may return to
participate in future live offerings of the course as well. Please join us!
Erica owns and operates Shelterbelt Farm, a diversified operation with lambs, cattle, an orchard, high tunnels, an apiary, and overnight accommodations in Brooktondale, NY. She also manages online courses for the Cornell Small Farms Program.
Start**Intro to the course: Please watch before our first webinar!**
StartFirst Webinar: Link, Slides, and Recording
StartFORUM: Readings and Reflections on the Challenges of Profitable Farming
StartFORUM: Vegetable Farm Decision Case
StartASSIGNMENT and FORUM: Plan Your Farm Hub - Getting Started, pt I
Courses Included with Purchase
Original Price: $0
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn from successful farmers and start turning your farm dreams into reality today!