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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 Jan. 8-10, 2016 on the UW-Madison campus. The annual program, first offered in 1998, serves new and beginning farmers seeking to grow and market fresh produce.

“Our focus is to provide information and inspiration to help new growers make smart business decisions about production, marketing, pricing, capitalization and labor. We accomplish this by having a team of experienced growers do the majority of the teaching,” 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. The grower-instructors also provide real-world perspectives on the financial and quality-of-life realities of running a small scale farm.

“Our instructors provide a wealth of practical knowledge and insight into what it takes to operate a farm business,” says Hendrickson. “While being able to grow beautiful, tasty vegetables is vital, perhaps more critical to 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.”

The Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Growers is sponsored by the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS). 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. More information is available on the CIAS website at www.cias.wisc.edu or on the CIAS Beginning Grower Schools Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/CIASGrowerSchools.