• By Mary Jac Brennan
  • Posted Tuesday, November 4, 2014

2015 Southern Piedmont Farm School Now Accepting Applications

New farmers, like father-daughter team Chip and Kathryn Webb of Vine and Fig Tree, say the farm school provided invaluable help in growing their operations. The Webbs have a test garden in Forsyth County, several acres of fruit trees and muscadine vines near Tyro in Davidson County and a historic farm near Churchland in Davidson County where George Washington ate breakfast in 1791. The experience also helped them get to know the extension agents in each of the three counties.

“Farming is a multi-disciplinary enterprise,” Chip Webb said. “And, we have delighted in learning from some of the brightest and best teachers from North Carolina State University and our extension educators.” The first Cooperative Extension farm school started in Davidson County in 2012, fueled by growing consumer interest in local foods, increasing sales at farmers market and other direct-to-consumer markets and a desire to grow the next generation of farmers. The average age of North Carolina’s farmers is 57. In an effort to help “grow” new farmers in North Carolina, N.C. Cooperative Extension is offering four NC Farm Schools across the state beginning in January. The Southern Piedmont Farm School is a seven-month educational program that trains beginning and transitioning farmers to operate successful, small-scale sustainable farms. The school offers seven business planning seminars to give farmers the tools to create a viable business plan. Each business session will focus on different areas of writing a business plan including effective marketing strategies.

The school also includes seven day-long field trips at different working farms led by innovative, experienced farmers and agricultural professionals. Participants will learn about low-cost sustainable farming methods, from growing fruits and vegetables, to raising cows, pigs, poultry, goats. The schools also will cover specialty crops and agritourism. To download an application Click Here: For more information, call Mary Jac Brennan at 336-703-2869.

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