The North Carolina State University Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) will conduct four Farm Management Training Schools, patterned after the award winning “Piedmont Farm School,” in 2014-2015. If sufficient external funding can be secured, ARE plans to offer eight schools in 2015-2016.
The N.C. Farm Management Training School program is designed to be relevant to a broad range of farms, from small or beginning businesses to large or established operations, regardless of the commodity. Each school will run for seven consecutive months and will educate growers on strategies for successfully accessing new or emerging market opportunities as well as building lasting relationships between participants and buyers. The backbone of these schools will be a group of successful growers with in-depth knowledge and experience and knowledgeable N.C. Cooperative Extension agents and specialists.
The school curriculum will include seven business planning seminars (one evening per month), which will give farm business managers and owners the tools to create a new – or revise an existing – business plan for an economically sustainable farm enterprise. Each month a different business topic will be covered, such as whole farm planning, assessment and evaluation of assets and skills, marketing fundamentals, record keeping and business planning.
Each school will also include seven field trips (one weekday a month) to various working farms. These tours will have a different agricultural focus each month and will be directed by experienced farmers and Extension professionals. Cooperating Extension agents will be assigned a specific month to organize a field trip for the class.
Michael Roberts, Extension associate in ARE, will be the state coordinator for the N.C. Farm Management Training School program. Assisting Roberts will be Amy-Lynn Albertson, agricultural Extension agent in Davidson County, and Dr. Gary Bullen, Extension associate in ARE. The original Piedmont Farm School was coordinated by Roberts along with Jonathan Baros, Extension coordinator and economist with N.C. State’s Plants for Human Health Institute.
For More Information
Michael T. Roberts
Extension Associate, ARE
N.C. Research Campus
600 Laureate Way, Suite 1309, Kannapolis, NC 28081