This program focuses on disease and pest management, plant propagation, soil and plant nutrition, food and agriculture regulations, food processing and other food quality skills. Students also benefit from instruction in entrepreneurship, marketing and sales.
Program coordinator Corrie Stender says there’s more to farming than planting and harvesting and this program prepares students to be successful agricultural entrepreneurs.
“Regardless of your best intention, if the business plan isn’t in place you can’t make a living or sustain a farm,” she said. “The business aspect of the program is to assist the students in considering what needs to be included to make a viable and sustainable business. And it’s not always the most obvious things.”
This program also informs students about the pressures of running a farm aside from just producing a bountiful harvest and addresses external issues that may be overlooked by farmers.
“It could include things like insurance, advertising, hydro costs, water costs – even if a student chooses to work for someone else, and perhaps even optimize or troubleshoot these issues for their employer,” said Stender.
Students will have the opportunity for hands-on work in the areas of soil amending, planting, tending and harvesting; the characteristics of soils; which soils support specific vegetation; and ways to amend these soils.
“This program is really meant to take students on a journey of the whole process, right from preparing the soil and planting the seeds all the way through to the final sale to the customer and every process in between,” said Stender.