CULLMAN, Ala. – The North Alabama Agriplex and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Extension) have partnered the past several years to provide training to beginning and small farmers. Formerly known as the Beginning Farmer and Rancher, the series takes on a new name, Veteran and Beginning Farmer, as it starts over in the new year to encourage military veterans to participate. The name change also comes as the North Alabama Agriplex and Extension partner together for Operation Grow – a new veteran farmer program sponsored by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.
The Veteran and Beginning Farmer workshops are open at no cost to anyone interested in the topics presented. The workshops take place on the second Tuesday, January through September, from 6-8 p.m. at the North Alabama Agriplex, except for two farm field trips. Registration is requested, and a light supper will be provided at most workshops. To register, contact Tony Glover at 205-568-0005 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
One goal of the Veteran and Beginning Farmer series is knowledge. Equipping beginning small farmers with the technical knowledge needed to succeed in a farming operation is critical. This is achieved through a variety of topics and presenters. In 2023, topics will range from vegetable production methods, meat goat basics, soil management, farm funding, animal first aid and more. Workshops are interactive and led by experts including Extension agents and specialists, farmers, producers, a veterinarian and agriculture agency representatives.
A second goal of the series is connection. When beginning farmers with similar interests interact with one another it adds value to the learning process and reminds them they are not alone in their pursuit. Beginning farmers also have the opportunity to connect with experienced farmers, tapping into a wealth of knowledge and potentially leading to mentorships. Lastly, beginning farmers are connected to resources from local to federal levels, including staff and services from various organizations.
If you are interested in learning more about what topics are offered in the Veteran and Beginning Farmer series, visit https://agriplex.org/WPtest/farmer-rancher-program. For veterans interested in farming, check out the Operation Grow program offered through Extension (www.aces.edu/blog/topics/farming/operation-grow-for-military-veterans).