Thinking of switching from gardening to farming? Check out info from Cornell

corn growing in field in Western New York
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

If you enjoy gardening, you might yearn to do what you love and make it into your job. But there’s a lot to know if you want to be a farmer.

Whether you want to supplement your income by selling what you grow, you’re dreaming of quitting your day job or you’re already a farmer, you can get help at Cornell University’s website for beginning farmers.

Online courses for aspiring, new and experienced farmers are being offered. The courses fill up fast and a few are already closed, so if you think you might be interested, check them out now.

The interactive six-week courses aim to connect you to the information and people you need to start a successful farm business or diversify your farm. They are led by experienced educators and farmers. Courses are $200 each.

Courses range from farming techniques to business practices. For example, “Berry Production – Getting Started with Growing and Marketing,” covers how to choose a site for berry farming, basic cultural demands of various berry crops, pests, post-harvest requirements of berries, considerations for successful marketing of berry crops, and how to analyze costs vs. expenses in order to incorporate them into a business plan.

Another course is “Taking Care of Business – Understanding the Business, Regulatory, and Tax Implications of Your Farm.”

Apart from the courses, the site offers free information in a “New Farmer Hub” that includes tutorials, videos and links to people who can help you develop your farm plans.

Topics include:

• Accessing and evaluating land

• Planning and funding your farm business

• Learning how to farm

• Choosing what to produce

• Selling what you produce

• Taking care of the land

• Achieving or improving profitability

• Understanding taxes and regulations

Guides and booklets can also be downloaded for free.


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