California Farm Academy
Beginning Farmer Training Program
The Beginning Farmer Training Program provides aspiring farmers a strong foundation from which to launch and grow their farm businesses. In this immersive educational program, students have the opportunity to gain farm production and business knowledge in a variety of settings that appeal to different learning styles. Throughout their time in the Training Program, the next generation of motivated, hard-working farm entrepreneurs gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to begin working towards their farming goals.
Classes & Curriculum
Curriculum combines lectures by farmers and agricultural professionals, hands-on field experience, and farm visits to expose students to topics critical for a future in farming. During the seven-month Training Program, lessons focus on crop production, business planning and marketing, and culminate in a personal business plan or farm career plan.
To learn more about the Training Program curriculum, take a look at our detailed program content.
Dates & Additional Information
- Classes start February 16, 2021 and last through the end of September. Classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 4:30-7:30 p.m., and two Saturdays per month at the Center for Land-Based Learning or at other nearby locations.
- Tuesday classes starting in mid-May are reserved for field work in the educational plot. Each student must choose four Fridays from mid-May to September to work in the field. This gives students an opportunity to learn in a smaller group and practice production skills.
- Two individual meetings with the Program Manager are scheduled outside of class time.
- There are (2) one-week breaks during the seven-month program.
- Classes and activities are conducted in English.
- All COVID-19 protocol is followed.
Admission Requirements & Application Process
- Dedication to a future in farming.
- A commitment to participate in 7-10 hours of training per week.
- Transportation to attend classes in Woodland, CA and at other nearby locations.
- Some previous experience with farming is preferred.
Application Process:The written application will be considered for the Class of 2021 and is Phase 1 of the application process. The current application period closed November 20, 2020. If selected, Phase 2 of the application is an interview. Following the application deadline, CFA staff will review applications and will reach out via email to notify you of your status.
The cost of tuition for the 2020 season was $4500. Tuition covers classes, hands-on experience, individual meetings with the Program Manager, & farm visits. Printed curriculum materials are provided, as are the necessary machinery, tools and supplies for the activities. The California Farm Academy partners with the Farmer Veteran Coalition and veterans are encouraged to apply.
There is no application fee, however full or partial payment for the program is required upon acceptance in order to secure a place in the session. If minimum payment is not made by the due date, the participant will lose their spot in the program and it may be offered to a wait-listed applicant. A 10% surcharge will be deducted from any refund of tuition after a student withdraws from the program. Once class has started, tuition is non-refundable.
Sri Sethuratnam, California Farm Academy Director
Maureen Thompson, California Farm Academy Training Program Manager
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