Farm School Program
Beginning in January 2021!
Are you interested in a career growing specialty crops (vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers) or want to gain a deeper understanding of the issues that are involved in farming in Northwest Arkansas? Our Farm School might be right for you!
The Farmer School is an 11 month, experiential learning program for beginning farmers of specialty crops or for those who want to learn how to grow food and the systems needed to be successful at farming. The Farm School uses a comprehensive approach to provide both classroom and hands-on experience for integrating production, business and legal issues. The production systems we use include annual cropping systems on 1 and 5 acre models, greenhouse production and perennial fruit production.
During this 11 month program, a cohort of students will participate in approximately 350 hours of production, business and legal curriculum lessons and 700 hours of hands-on field activities. At the end of the 11 month program, the co-hort will:
- have a foundation in sustainable agriculture concepts and applications, understand production practices for commercial markets including sustainable soil management, pest management, biodiversity, irrigation, harvest methods and projections, and food saftey practices,
- have experienced commercial production in a small intensive vegetable production, mid-sized vegetable production, perennial fruit production and greenhouse production,
- have learned business essentials such that they will have developed a business plan for his/her future farm that includes a mission statement, identifies the best business entity for his/her farm, market assessment, business financials, marketing plan, and distribution/management plan, and
- have integrated the production and business needs of a farm business with crop and business record-keeping for use in crop planning, producing for market needs, farm taxes, food safety.
This program is located at the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station’s Milo J. Shult Agricultural Research & Extension Center, 1005 Meade, Fayetteville AR.
The cost for this program is offered at a discounted rate of $2000/person and $100 in supply fees. Please note, this is a discounted rate for the first years of the school and is expected to increase in 2024. All of the student expenses go back into supporting the Center trainings and activities. Payment plans can be arranged, however full tuition must be paid by July 1 of the session in which you are participating. A non-refundable application fee of $50 is required, which will be put towards your tuition expenses.
The curriculum for the Farm School was developed to provide foundational knowledge and experience in issues that are key to farmer success. Classroom and field instruction is led by educators experienced in production, business and legal farm issues. In addition, many guest instructors, such as experienced farmers, local resource and service providers, and U of A System scientists, are scheduled to provide additional information and experience on topical information.
Our Farm School uses a co-hort model where a class goes through the program together. Class size is up to 15 people. This class size allows for in-depth instruction, small group interaction and strong classroom bonds.
Applications will be accepted beginning mid 2020. Please check back for more information.