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.
To learn more about the Training Program curriculum, take a look at our detailed program content.
Dates & Additional Information
- Classes start February 18, 2022 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.
- New optional tracks will be available for participants who want to go more in depth on subjects such as livestock and orchards/permanent crops. These optional classes will occur on Wednesday evenings.
- 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 Yolo County COVID-19 protocol, if applicable, is followed.
Admission Requirements & Application Process
- Dedication to a future in farming.
- A commitment to participate in 7-10 hours of training per week. These hours are spent in the classroom, doing field work and on farm tours. Additional time will be necessary for homework and developing a business plan.
- Transportation to attend classes in Woodland, CA and at other nearby locations.
- Some previous experience with farming is preferred.
The 9th Class has been enrolled and the application period is closed. We will begin accepting applications for the 10th Class in the fall of 2022. Classes for that cohort will begin February 2023.
Application & Admission
- Phase 1 - Application Complete and submit your application.
- Phase 2 - Review Farm Academy staff review applications on an ongoing basis as they come in. Take your time filling out the application. Detailed, complete applications can speed up the process and is beneficial to the admissions process. Phase 3 - Interview If your application is selected, you will be notified by phone of interview.
- Phase 4 - Notification CFA staff will review applications and will reach out via email to notify you of your status.
- Phase 5 - Enrollment
The cost of tuition for the 2022 season is $4750. Tuition covers classes, hands-on experience, individual meetings with the Program Manager and farm visits. Printed curriculum materials
are provided, as are the necessary machinery, tools and supplies for the activities. The California Farm Academy offers veterans tuition assistance and encourages veterans 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.
Jon Kupkowski, Beginning Farmer Training Program Manager
Sri Sethuratnam, California Farm Academy Director
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