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 Organic Farmer Training Program has been approved for IN-PERSON instruction for 2021! The 2021 MSU Organic Farmer Training Program (OFTP) will be a 50/50 mix of field and online learning, including 11 hands-on days at the MSU Student Organic Farm, 6 field trip days and 16 interactive online class days. Check out the full schedule to see the plan for safe in-person learning and interactive online activities. The goal of the OFTP is to create a learning community of aspiring and beginning farmers, farmworkers, homesteaders, educational gardeners and OFTP instructors to support each other in learning farm and business planning skills. It worked for 2019 graduate Heather Fuson, who says “Before OFTP I had a vision, but when I left I had a plan.”
Only 400 undergraduate courses and a very few Extension activities have been approved for this year and we are proud of our plan to keep everyone safe & healthy, while ensuring hands-on learning for beginning farmers.
"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.
Please note that 2021 scholarships are no longer available.
Would you like to talk with someone about the program? Contact Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 517-230-7987.