Organic Farmer Training Program
The 15-acre Student Organic Farm and its half acre of passive solar hoophouses, is the learning laboratory for the Organic Farmer Training Program (OFTP). The OFTP teaches aspiring farmers in a 50/50 mix of field and classroom activities every Monday from March to November. In the field, everyone participates in hands-on activities, farm walks and equipment demonstrations. In the classroom, we focus on small group activities, full group discussions, guest speakers and participant presentations. You will also visit 20+ Michigan farms! Outside of class, video lectures, readings and practical assignments, like writing a Farm Business Plan will connect learning themes from the class to YOUR farm goals. The OFTP is a vibrant, diverse and positive learning community where students learn from each other and share their unique skills, experience and goals.
The OFTP uses different themes each week to give graduates the working knowledge of farm production, management, marketing, and business operations necessary to operate a diversified small farm. Each graduate leaves with their complete Farm Business Plan and earns a Certificate from MSU Student Organic Farm, MSU Department of Horticulture and the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems.
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"The skills I've gained created a strong base while starting my own farm business. The experience really solidified my desire to take on farming as my life's work." ~Carolyn Leadley '08, Owner & Manager of Rising Pheasant Farm in Detroit, MI. To read more student testimonials, click here.
Merit and need-based scholarships are made possible by funds raised at our annual Hoophouse Gala, sponsored by MSU Residential and Hospitality Services. Scholarships are awarded based on financial need and merit (farm experience and potential for success in organic farming or farm education. We are proud and excited to be able to offer these scholarships in order to decrease barriers to training for new and beginning farmers.
A limited number of scholarships will be awarded based on assessed financial need and merit. Need and merit-based scholarships will range from $500 to $2,000 and will be applied immediately and directly to the cost of the program. (i.e. Total program fees are $3,900; a recipient of a $1,000 scholarship will owe $2,900 for the program.)
Click here to access our scholarship application.
Would you like to talk with someone about the program? Contact Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 517-230-7987.