Two N.C. State University faculty members based at the N.C. Research Campus will be instructors in the 2012 Piedmont Farm School, presented by N.C. Cooperative Extension. Mike Roberts and Jonathan Baros, both affiliated with the N.C. State agricultural and resource economics department, will teach business planning seminars. Baros is also a member of N.C. MarketReady, the Cooperative Extension outreach of the Plants for Human Health Institute.
The Piedmont Farm School is a seven-month educational and outreach program that trains beginning and transitioning farmers. The program is designed to help them operate successful small-scale, sustainable farms. The effort aims to increase the number of local growers and the production of locally grown products within the Piedmont region. It also plans to create a network of local small farms and to help cultivate viable markets for their products. The school involves students from Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Montgomery, Randolph and Rowan counties.
N.C. Cooperative Extension personnel developed the curriculum to help meet the growing demand for locally grown food. The school was designed to help meet the needs of people wanting to become farmers with little or no background in agriculture. It will inform new and beginning growers of emerging production and marketing opportunities.
The business planning seminars will be held one evening each month from February through October 2012. Planned by Roberts, the business seminars will give farmers the tools to create new or revised business plans for small-scale, economically sustainable farm enterprises. The school will also include field trips to different working farms.
Among the topics Roberts and Baros will cover are the five areas of risk, forms of business ownership, financial record-keeping and marketing fundamentals. Field trips will include whole farm planning and will focus on livestock basics, fruits, vegetables, specialty crops and agritourism. To learn more visit http://davidson.ces.ncsu.edu or call 336-242-2085 for registration materials. Early bird deadline is Dec. 16. Regular deadline is Jan. 20.
Writer: Justin Moore