Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program
Across the United States and in Georgia, the number of small and medium–sized farms is declining and the average age of farmers is on the rise. Although we need new farmers, the barriers would-be farmers face when trying to grow new agricultural businesses from the ground up can be formidable. UGA Extension and partners have developed the Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program to provide a comprehensive training program for beginning farmers.
This project has been funded by USDA NIFA Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program grant. The grant is now over and the program will continue to be offered, however there will be some changes and the program will be run differently in every county.
Originally, we required counties to offer all three steps of the program. Now we have adapted the program so agents may choose to offer one, two, or all three of the steps below. Check in with the county agent running the program to learn more about what steps they are offering.
- Small Farm Business Planning or AgAware Training
- Small Fruit & Vegetable Production or Small Ruminants Production,
- Hands-on Production Training (Internship, mentorship, and/or incubator opportunities. If your county is offering this part of the program, please check in with the county agent for more information)
Participants are welcome to travel to any classes offered around the state. You will receive a certificate if you take the classes and pass the knowledge evaluation at the end. Please realize that counties offering Hands-On Production Trainings may only have opportunities available in their county.
If you have questions please contact one of the county offices below who are running the program. If your county is not offering the program, you can let your county agent know you are interested and they may be able to offer the program in the future.
Program Locations for 2018 - 2019
We currently do not have any programs scheduled, please check back periodically for updates to our schedule.
Who Should Attend?
Who is a beginning farmer? USDA defines a beginning farmer as anyone who has been farming less than ten years continuously. The Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program is focused on those interested in starting a farm business or those who have recently begun farming and want to improve their operation.
What Kind of Training Does the Program Provide?
Interested farmers will first attend one of two different Small Farm Business Planning trainings: Small Farm Business Planning training run by the UGA Small Business Development Center, or the AgAware program run by AgCredit. The business training offered in your area is selected by the Extension team hosting the Journeyman program. Following the Small Farm Business Planning training, farmers will either participate in a Small Fruit and Vegetable Production training or a Small Ruminant Production training, depending on which program they signed up for. Some Journeyman programs offer a Hands-On Production training and depends on the Extension team hosting the program.
Small Farm Business Planning is four 2-hour sessions developed in partnership with the UGA Small Business Development Center, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and Georgia Organics. Topics include lessons learned from successful small farms, market feasibility, balance sheets, income statements, risk management, marketing and technology, as well as preparing a business plan. Successful participants will have the foundation to prepare their own farm business plan. For a general agenda on the Small Farm Business Planning training, click here.
AgAware is a one-day workshop run by AgCredit that is aimed at young, beginning, small and minority farmers. The workshop covers farm business topics including: lessons learned from successful small farms, balance sheets, income statements, family finance and budgeting, applying for financing, risk management, marketing and technology, as well as preparing a business plan. Successful participants will have the foundation to prepare their own farm business plan. They also receive a FSA borrower certificate and a certificate of completion. Participants in Ag Aware are eligible to enroll in either the Small Fruit & Vegetable Production or Small Ruminants Production trainings. For more information please visit the AgAware site: https://www.agsouthfc.com/News/AGAware.aspx
Small Fruit & Vegetable Production is a seven week training developed in partnership with Georgia Organics and the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. Topics include: Soil health and fertility, soil amendments and fertilizers, cover crops, crop rotations, pest management, crop selection, crop propagation, equipment, post-harvest handling, food safety, and marketing. For a general agenda on the Small Fruit and Vegetable Production training, click here.
Small Ruminant Production is a six week training developed by Fort Valley State University in partnership with UGA Extension. Topics include: goat and sheep breeds and selection, nutrition and body scoring, pasture management, predator control, health and diseases, reproduction and kidding/lambing, integrated parasite management, as well as meats and marketing. The training includes a session with live animals to practice body condition scoring, hoof trimming and checking for internal parasites. For a general agenda on the Small Ruminant Production training, click here.
Hands-On Production may or may not be offered, depending on the Extension team who is hosting the Journeyman program in your area. This includes internships, mentorships, and/or incubator options with experienced farmers. In order to qualify for this portion of the program, you must complete and pass Steps 1 and 2. You will need to apply for Hands-On opportunities and not everyone is guaranteed a spot. Check in with the county agent running your program to learn about the details of their program.
This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture under award number 2015-70017-22861. It is a partnership between UGA, Georgia Organics, Fort Valley State University, UGA Small Business Development Center, AgSouth, Georgia Department of Agriculture, and the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association.
If you have general questions about the program please contact:
Sustainable Agriculture Program Assistant