School for Beginning Market Growers Offered in January

The Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Growers, a three-day workshop for anyone planning to start a fresh market vegetable farm, will be offered January 6-8, 2017 on the UW-Madison campus.

The program, now in its 20th year, serves new and beginning farmers seeking to grow and market fresh produce.

“We provide information and inspiration to help new growers make smart business decisions about production, marketing, pricing, capitalization and labor,” says school coordinator John Hendrickson, an outreach specialist with the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.

The program emphasizes organic production methods and direct marketing. Participants will learn about fertility management, greenhouse use, season extension, pest management and equipment needs, and will hear real-world perspectives on the financial and quality-of-life realities of running a small scale farm.

“Our course is largely taught by a team of experienced growers who provide a wealth of practical knowledge and insight into what it takes to operate a farm business,” says Hendrickson, who operates his own part-time organic vegetable farm.  “A critical part of success is what happens before seeds touch the soil: planning, marketing and business management.  This is where the experience of our grower-instructors can help people avoid costly mistakes.”

There are a limited number of $100 scholarships available to support participants interested in starting an organic farm.

The Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Growers is sponsored by the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems. Registration for the program costs $325. Enrollment is limited, so early sign-ups are advised.

For more information, contact John Hendrickson at (608) 265-3704 or jhendric@wisc.edu, visit the CIAS web site at www.cias.wisc.edu or the CIAS Beginning Grower Schools Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CIASGrowerSchools/.