More people than ever are interested in giving farming a try. In the past, people turned to farming family members for help. Today, most people are generations removed from farming.
To help budding farmers get started, Alabama Extension now offers a free online course, Farming Basics. Launched Sept. 10, the course addresses critical topics in agriculture.
Alabama Extension director Gary Lemme calls the course a groundbreaking digital effort.
“Anyone who is considering farming but has little to no experience will reap rewards by completing the course,” says Lemme. He adds that Farming Basics is a valuable tool for experienced farm owners as well.
“Established producers can use the course as a refresher in best practices,” says Lemme. “Additionally, they can use it to train new employees.”
Jewell and Russell Bean of S & B Farm in Barbour County agree the course is exactly what beginning farmers need.
“Farming Basics is filled with good information,” Russell Bean says. “We recommend it as a resource not only for beginning farmers but seasoned producers as well.”
Farming Basics’ five chapters feature video presentations and additional resources which enhance the course’s content depth. A short quiz at the end of each chapter offers participants the opportunity to review and reinforce content concepts. The course takes about two hours to complete. Upon completion, participants receive a certificate.
Dr. Ayanava Majumdar, Farming Basics project leader, says more than 200 people have already pre-registered for the course.
“Farming is challenging for experienced farmers, and it can be overwhelming to people new to it,” says Majumdar. “Our goal with Farming Basics is to help new producers develop knowledge and critical skills, enabling them to reduce mistakes and achieve profitability more rapidly.”
The course covers farm management and marketing, pesticide safety, food safety, basic crop production and pest management. Find the course at https://aces.catalog.auburn.edu/.
Farming Basics follows the proven model of Beef Basics, Alabama Extension’s first online agriculture course.
Lemme says these courses serve as the foundation of the organization’s growing commitment to online learning.
“Because of programs like this, we are becoming a nationally recognized leader in digital learning.”
Currently, the Beginning Farmer program provides intense on-farm guidance to more than 60 beginning farmers, including military veterans, women and socially disabled individuals. The advisory service has an 85 percent adoption rate and has increased yields by improving crop quality and reducing insecticide use with pest prevention.
Alabama Extension operates as the primary outreach organization for the land-grant functions of Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities.
Contact your local Etowah County Extension Office at 256.547.7936 for more details.