RU Ready to Farm offers online and hands-on training for beginning farmers

Middlesex County Agricultural Agent Bill HlubikPHOTO COURTESY OF RUTGERS COOPERATIVE EXTENSION
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Middlesex County Agricultural Agent Bill HlubikPHOTO COURTESY OF RUTGERS COOPERATIVE EXTENSION

RU Ready to Farm, a new beginner farmer training program from the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension, will hold its first online information session on May 1 at 10 a.m.

This program is directed by Middlesex County Agricultural Agent Bill Hlubik and will provide a combination of online and in-person hands-on training to new and beginner farmers from around the state.

This information session will:

  • Highlight the need for a next generation of farmers.
  • Provide an overview of the RU Ready to Farm training program.
  • Explain how to sign-up for the program.
  • Outline the level of commitment expected from program participants.
  • Feature farmers sharing the story of their horse-powered diversified farm in coastal Maine.

Registration for the information session can be found at https://go.rutgers.edu/db88up1r

Agriculture in New Jersey is at a tipping point, with many experienced farmers nearing retirement in the coming years, according to information provided by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

“The future of our food system and farm production will depend on nurturing and training the next generation of farmers. As the average age of farmers in our state approaches 60 years old, we will need intelligent, energetic growers with great ideas to carry on the legacy of our established successful farmers from our Garden State,” Hlubik said in the statement.

The COVD-19 pandemic demonstrated the vital importance of a strong local food system, as customers turned to their local farmers for safe and reliable food access during a period of unprecedented supply disruptions, according to the statement. Well-trained and well-supported farmers are the backbone of this type of resilient food system.

The RU Ready to Farm beginner farmer training program is supported by Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant no. 2020-70017-32784 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

For more information about RU Ready to Farm, visit rubeginnerfarmer.rutgers.edu, or email beginnerfarmer@njaes.rutgers.edu. Follow on Facebook and Instagram @RUReadytoFarm.