Farm School may be the answer for you

  • Posted: Friday, November 1, 2013 12:55 a.m.
Neil Shore shows the students of Piedmont Farm School the vineyards vinifera variety wine grapes at Sanders Ridge farm.
Neil Shore shows the students of Piedmont Farm School the vineyards vinifera variety wine grapes at Sanders Ridge farm.

SALISBURY — Have you ever wanted to start your own farm but did not know where to start? Or you just inherited property but you don’t know what to do with it?

We often receive numerous phones calls and visits from people asking how they can start their own agriculture business. For some, figuring out what they can do can be easy, but for most, they do not know where to start, what to do or where to go and it can be a long thought process. Some people want to know what options they have for vacant land, some have no land but a passion for agriculture, and some want to start with a fresh idea.


All these are great scenarios and ideas but they take a lot of time and sometimes even years to make a dream into reality. To help with this newfound passion for agriculture, some Extension agents in the Piedmont decided to develop a school to teach beginning and transitioning farmers about agriculture and business aspects to run a farming business properly.

The first course started in 2012, and because of its success the program has grown and will have a 2014 class. The program was so popular it received state and regional awards; it was also nationally recognized. Starting in 2014 there will be two additional farm schools across the state to meet the demand.

For our area, the Piedmont Farm School is a seven-month program featuring once-a-month evening business courses and an all-day farm tour event. Business courses are held on the second Tuesday of the month from 6-9 p.m. in Forsyth County. The farm field days are usually on the fourth Thursday. For the first time this year, Piedmont Farm School will host a mini-conference during August.

Business course topics will include marketing, cost of production, taxes and business planning. Farm tours will feature livestock, cheese, specialty crops, orchards, vegetables and much more. The business course will always be held at the Forsyth Cooperative Extension Office located at 1450 Fairchild Road, Winston Salem. Farm tours are held throughout the Piedmont at local farms and lunch is provided on the tours.

If this program sounds interesting to you and you would like more information, please contact your local extension agent at 704-216-8970. Spots are limited, so register at your earliest convenience. The cost of the course for one person is $200 and for two people, $250. For more information online visit http://forsyth.ces.ncsu.edu/2013/10/piedmont-farm-school/ or Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/PiedmontFarmSchool

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