Agricultural Education
and Training

The Farm Hub’s Agricultural Education and Training program aims to improve the capacity of farmers and agricultural workers to plan and sustain their careers in agriculture.

With farming a knowledge-intensive career, we focus our training in a few key areas: farm business planning, farm equipment/safety programming, organic vegetable and grain production and ongoing professional development. We deliver this education through workshops, apprenticeship and through leadership development in key areas of communication: English and Spanish classes and computer skills training.

A new generation of farmers that is inclusive and reflective of the diversity of the U.S. is much needed in agriculture.

Yet, clear racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in agricultural land ownership and management exist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers are more than 96 percent white. Farmers and fieldworkers are also aging out of the profession. The average age of a principal operator rose from 50.3 years in 1978 to 58.3 years, according to the USDA’s 2017 Census of Agriculture. We intend to help address these inequities through programming especially for and by beginning farmers and farmers of color.

Farm Equipment and Safety

Farming at scale using organic practices requires unique skills and experience.  We’ve taken great care to make farm safety at the forefront of all that we do, from the safety of our workers to that of the food that leaves our farm. We offer training on tractor safety and operation, and are currently developing a farm shop apprenticeship focused on tractor operation and the basic diagnostics, maintenance and repair of farm equipment. We recently launched the application for Farm Mechanic Basics, a new Farm Hub program set to begin in January of 2022.

Farm Business Planning

Through our partnership with GrowNYC’s Beginner Farmer Program, which serves farmers with business technical assistance and training, we host and support their La Nueva Siembra course on farm business planning. We also co-create workshops each year for beginning farmers in the Hudson Valley, which are often more focused on production-oriented topics. This programming is offered in Spanish.

A note about our former ProFarmers

Our inaugural farmer training initiative, the ProFarmer Program, was retired as a multi-year program in 2021.  We are honored to have supported the learning paths of former participants like Jesse Goldfarb, who started Tributary Farm in High Falls, NY, in 2018, and of our current trainee Jayne Henson, who is now in her 3rd season of business, at Transgenerational Farm in Accord. Some alumni are now working as full-time members of our production team, including Andrew Casner now Field Crops Coordinator and Jesus Gonzalez-Negrete, a tractor operator and Language Worker on our Language Justice team.

We continue to develop educational programs and workshops with the aim of making them available to members of the community.

Sometimes we find it too easy to believe that in the modern era, agriculture is about bits and machines, and satellites that feed information into automated machinery, and biotech, and very high technology. All of that blinking light stuff does not matter when it comes to the fact that raw, brute, menial labor is still required, matched with knowledge, expertise, and skills to recognize how the Earth and plants and animals work, and that that knowledge is concentrated in that farmer class and in the farm laborers.

-Ricardo Salvador, Building a Food System Grounded in Justice

Resources

Contact

Sara Katz, Education Program Manager, skatz@hvfarmhub.org.