California Farm Academy

Beginning Farmer Training Program

The Beginning Farmer Training program is one branch of the California Farm Academy. The program provides aspiring farmers a strong foundation from which to launch their agricultural careers. In this intensive 7-month training program, students have the opportunity to learn in a variety of settings that appeal to different learning styles. 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.


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 program, lessons focus on crop production, business planning and marketing and culminate in a personal business plan or farm career plan. Througout 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.


Beginning Farmer Training classes meet Tuesday and Thursdays, 4:30-7:30 p.m. and 2 Saturdays/month at the Center for Land-Based Learning farm or at other nearby locations.

Students receive 230 hours of training time between courses and farm visits, time spent learning by doing, as well as mentoring and lectures by farmers and agricultural professionals. Time will be spent in the classroom, out in the field, and on the farms of some of the region's most successful farmers and ranchers.


Admission Requirements

Application Period for 2019 is now open

Training Program Application Period: 2019 applications are still being accepted on an ongoing basis until the class is full. Complete the online application here.


The cost of the seven-month training program in 2019 is $4,100. Tuition covers classes, hands-on experience, one-on-one consultations, farm visits and field trips. Printed curriculum materials are provided, as are the necessary machinery, tools and supplies for the activities.

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.

Partial tuition assistance may be available for admitted applicants who demonstrate financial need. Please contact, Sri Sethuratnam (below) for more information.

Other Programs

The California Farm Academy's Farm Business Incubator Program also provides farmland for lease to qualified CFA graduates. Plots of land (some organic) from ¼ acre to 1 acre or more are available at the Center for Land-Based Learning's headquarters at the Farm on Putah Creek and/or other sites in West Sacramento and at the Cannery Urban Farm in Davis. More Info »

The California Farm Academy Apprenticeship Program is for highly motivated, committed individuals who know they want a career in agriculture. We expect our graduates to fill critical management positions on farms across the country, take the reins from farmers looking at retirement, or launch their own farming operations. The program lasts approximately two years, and is a formal, registered apprenticeship with both paid on-the-job training and supplemental coursework.
More Info »

More information

Sri Sethuratnam, California Farm Academy Director
(530) 795-4146

<< Back to the California Farm Academy program page.