• 63°

N.C. Farm School growing farmers from the ground up

By Amy-Lynn Albertson

Rowan County Extension Director

According to the 2017 agriculture census, there are about 74,000 agriculture producers in North Carolina, and 27% of those producers are new and beginning farmers.

Only 9 percent of North Carolina’s farms sell directly to the consumer. We need new farmers to meet the demand for locally grown food in North Carolina.

Quite often I get people who come to my office and say “I have some land that I want to do something with, but I don’t know what. Can you tell me what I can grow and make some money?”

This is really an open-ended question because it really depends on the market and the operator on whether an agriculture venture will be successful. Any good business starts out with a good plan and lots of research. The key to having a successful farm enterprise is “knowing” what success means to you.

Success may mean keeping the farm out of development, making enough money to take a trip this year, or farming full time and supporting your family. If this sounds like you or someone you know, then N.C. Farm School may be the perfect Christmas Gift.

N.C. Farm School for the Southern Piedmont will be Jan. 14-May 27, 2020. Business classes will meet Tuesdays from 6-9 p.m. at the Cabarrus County Extension Center and farm field days will be once a month on a Wednesday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $399/person or $599/couple. Applications are available at www.ncfarmschool.com; the deadline is Jan. 10, 2020.

N.C. Farm School is committed to helping those who have land development enterprises to keep land in production. Our students find that they can build their dreams into a full farm business plan to enable success when implementing their ideas.

Often, this land would have sold to development or not be used for agriculture.

Joy Cobb, 2019 Northern Piedmont Farm School graduate says she was able to take her idea and put it on paper in a meaningful way. “N.C. Farm School provided me with the tools and support necessary to stop using the spaghetti method to figure out farming. I can do budget sheets that don’t look like the ramblings of a madman on paper.”

Cobb recognized that this was critical to keeping the commitment to that land that she and husband Darryl had made to their family as Joy goes on to say, Darryl’s father’s “wish was that the land stays in agriculture as opposed to being timbered or turned into a housing development. We made a commitment to Darryl’s father that we do all we could to keep the farm a farm.”

N.C. Farm School’s method of helping farmers develop their ideas is hands-on. We emphasize a think-plan-do approach by coming out to the farm to show students hands-on and what the next steps are in practical business development.

Michael Tustin of Squashbuckler Farms said, “The on-farm consultation was awesome because it helped me really tie down some of the finer details of my plans, and it was great to have people with real-world experience tell me I wasn’t crazy and that my dream was possible.”

N.C. Farm School offers marketing, budgeting, financial risk management and business plan framework, one-on-one site visits with university business specialists who can speak to your goals, and mentoring based on your area of interest. Extension agents and specialists lead each class and farm field day to give every student a rewarding experience.

For more information on NC Farm School, go to www.ncfarmschool.com or call the Rowan County Extension Center at 704-216-8970.

Comments

Crime

Highway Patrol: Vehicle fled after striking, killing pedestrian on Camp Road

Local

Locals to be inducted into NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame

Business

Fall fun, with a twist: Patterson Farm adjusts to guidelines, offers new version of traditional events

Nation/World

Sayers, Piccolo friendship lives on in ‘Brian’s Song’

Education

Partners in learning passes last year’s special needs fashion show fundraiser with all-virtual event

Education

Shoutouts

Elections

Former history teacher to use ‘working knowledge of the issues’ in state House race

Business

Chamber adds more than 50 new businesses during Total Resource Campaign

Education

School board candidates for Salisbury seat split on consolidation

Education

Virtually no internet: Rural NC families struggle with online access for school-age children

Education

Horizons Unlimited taking learning to students this semester

Nation/World

NTSB: Pilot’s actions likely caused Earnhardt Jr. plane crash

Nation/World

2 Louisville officers shot amid Breonna Taylor protests

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 positives reported at Piedmont Correctional

Crime

Blotter: Police respond to shots fired call outside of Salisbury home

Coronavirus

Rowan tied for fifth among counties for most COVID-19 deaths

Health

‘Nudge from God’: 10 years after diagnosis, Rockwell man to receive kidney from live donor

Crime

Salisbury police warn residents after increased trailer thefts

Education

Elon heightens alert as 32 test positive; Wake Forest in good shape to continue instruction as is

Cleveland

Corn picker catches fire at Knox Farm, destroying nearly eight acres

Nation/World

House easily passes stopgap funding bill, averting shutdown

News

Supreme Court vacancy looms large in 2nd NC Senate debate

Coronavirus

Additional COVID-19 death reported in Rowan; Cooper announces small business relief

Crime

Asheville man charged with heroin possession following traffic checkpoint