Gaining the production skills you need to develop a profitable operation takes time. There is a lot you need to know – soil management, plant biology, pest management, animal health, rotation strategies, weather and climate, equipment, water systems, etc. And there are many ways to gain this knowledge – reading, watching videos and webinars, taking classes, attending farm tours, and best of all, getting hands-on experience by working on a farm.
Factsheets and books on soil management and production information for specific agricultural crops, horticultural crops, and livestock can be found at these sites.
Webinars are online seminars. You can participate in them live, or alternatively, many organization record webinars and them make them available online for later viewing. The following sites list videos and webinars on a variety of crop, livestock, and other farming topics.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension Beginning Farmer Short Courses – short courses are offered each winter/early spring in a number of areas in the state. Contact your county Extension office for information.
MOFGA Farm Apprenticeships – MOFGA’s Farm Apprenticeship program connects people wanting to learn organic farming with experienced farmers willing to share their expertise. The typical arrangement involves an exchange of labor for room, board, a stipend, and informal, intensive training and experience in farming.
MOFGA Journey Person Program – MOFGA’s Journeyperson Program provides hands-on support, training, and mentorship for people who are serious about pursuing careers in organic farming in Maine. The program is designed to fill the continuing education gap between apprentice and independent farmer, and to provide the resources and opportunities for prospective new farmers who have completed an apprenticeship to further develop the skills they need to farm independently and successfully.
University of Maine Sustainable Agriculture Undergraduate Program – The University of Maine offers a Bachelors of Science degree in Sustainable Agriculture (SAG). This interdisciplinary program is offered cooperatively by the faculties of the Departments of Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences; Biology; and Resource Economics and Policy. The SAG program emphasizes the principles and practices of environmentally sound, profitable farming through coursework and hands-on opportunities. In addition to the core courses, students obtain knowledge and skills in the liberal arts, mathematics, sciences, and communications.