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Do you recommend any classes in college that could help you be a better organic farmer ?

I would like to be an organic farmer, and I was told to go to college, but I'm not so sure if that is a good idea, or what class to take. (Not a degree).

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Mike’s Answer

I just came upon this FREE class and thought I would send it your way.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-business-of-farming-building-business-acumen-one-step-at-a-time-tickets-445506350487
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Miryam
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Kate’s Answer

College courses can give you an important foundation of knowledge to build on and speed your learning. The first thing to determine is 'how will I make a living at this? Do you have access to a farm? Do you plan to manage a farm for someone else or for a non profit? Are there any nearby or will you need to move? Do you want to have your own farm as a CSA, sell at farm markets, sell to retail stores, have a farm stand, do online sales, deliveries, etc? These will take quite awhile to acheive any kind of reliable income. If starting your own farm, study business - accounting, marketing, business management and computer science. Plan to have a second income/job until you get established. If working for someone else, who will handle the busines part, look for basic horticulture courses in plant science, soil science, vegetable science, pomology. A local permaculture certificate would be great. Get an internship or work on an organic farm to gain hands on experience and use school knowledge. Identify the organic farmers in your area and partner with them., otherwise they become your competition. Do you have other skills or products to add to the market? Farm tours, weddings, pumpkin festival, christmas trees, jams, jellies and processed foods, greenhouse and garden plants, air bnb, farmstays, Hipcamp? How can you diversify and add value to your farm, employers and partners to generate consistent, year round income.

Identify your career goals first to determine the appropriate college classes to take. Make sure you have a clear goal in mind and set objectives/classes/experiences to get there.
Thank you comment icon what a thorough response - thank you!! Kim Igleheart
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! That really helped me understand how I know what to choose. I didn't realize there was that much to think of before applying for college classes. Thank you! Miryam
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Kim’s Answer

Miryam,

Last year you were asking about zoology. That's okay, just wondering how sure you are that this is the way you want to go. Or is this something you want to do as a hobby?

There is so much going on now that it is fairly easy to find information about organic gardening outside of the classroom. For example, you might look into taking a Master Gardner course in your community. You don't need to wait for college to start learning! I see you said "no degree." That's okay too, but, if you want to go into business for yourself, or run someone else's business, you will need a solid business education, as Kate mentioned. I know this won't make sense right now, but at some point in life, playing in the dirt gets to be old - squatting, kneeling, bending, sweating, etc. It comes at different ages, sometimes as early as 40. You will at least at that point be able to transition to something else - something related but perhaps less hands-on. And, admittedly, you could always get that education later.

A good background in organic gardening will include IPM - integrated pest management. Learn to recognize beneficial and harmful insects, eggs, fungus, etc. and what to use when eradication is necessary. How to introduce beneficial insects to the environment. Soil Testing and how to build soil up to be healthy. Beneficial nematodes. Watering. Planting the right plants for the environment. (xeriscaping), etc. I could tell you where to find all this info for Texas, but, you are not here!

Might want to check out this school - they have some classes
https://extension.wsu.edu/programs/




Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! I changed from thinking of a career in zoology to farming because I realized there were things I didn't like in the education and jobs in that field. When you say "playing in the dirt gets to be old" do you mean you physical wouldn't be able to do it or is it because of technology in agriculture? Miryam
Thank you comment icon Hi! I was talking about the physical nature of the work. When we are young, we don't think about it much. I got in a pretty good car wreck when I was 30. Before that, I didn't know what back muscles I used to lift a gallon of milk! Plan on moving up. Learn everything you can! Be that person that others come to for advice! It's an exciting field! Kim Igleheart
Thank you comment icon Oh! That makes sense! Thank you for the clarification! Miryam
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