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Beginning Farmer-Rancher Development Program Seeks Participants

January 3, 2018, 8:31 AM HST (Updated January 3, 2018, 8:32 AM)
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The Kohala Center will offer its eighth Beginning Farmer-Rancher Development Program starting on Saturday Jan. 13, 2018, in Honoka‘a. Hawai‘i Island residents interested in learning what it takes to be a successful farmer or rancher are encouraged to apply for the nine-month course.

The Beginning Farmer-Rancher Development Program aims to help new producers succeed and improve local food security. Courtesy photo.

Course sessions are held every other Saturday through September from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Classes will meet primarily in Honokaʻa but will rotate between training sites in Hāwī, Kailua-Kona, and Kaʻū to encourage participation from multiple regions of Hawai‘i Island.

Since 2013 theBeginning Farmer-Rancher Development Program has graduated more than 150 students. Courtesy photo.

The program provides 188 hours of coursework, on-farm demonstrations, workshops, field trips and online resources.

Since 2013 the program has graduated more than 150 students, who receive classroom and hands-on instruction on topics such as soil fertility management, tropical crop production, livestock production, business planning and financing, and agricultural product marketing. Tuition is $250 for the full program and scholarship assistance is available.

The deadline to apply for the Beginning Farmer-Rancher Development Program is Jan. 12, 2018. Courtesy photo.

Although no previous farming experience is required, preference is given to applicants who have taken steps to become agricultural producers and would benefit from a comprehensive curriculum. Students who successfully complete the program will be eligible for assistance in securing farm leases and capital to successfully produce, market, and distribute their crops. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

More information about the program is available online. The deadline to apply is Jan. 12, 2018.

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