December 22, 2021 by Tori Stanek
Scholarships Available for the Farmers Training Program
Central Wyoming College is offering scholarships to students who are interested in joining the 2022 Beginning Farmer Training Program cohort.
The comprehensive program will run from May 16 to October 7. It is designed to help participants start their own farm business to feed themselves, families, and the community.
Training will focus on small-scale farm crop production and the use of biodynamic and regenerative practices to build soil health in high elevation environments with short-growing-seasons. This includes minimal or no till practices, as well as cover cropping, composting, and planting diversified crops.
Additional courses include soil science, agroecology and farm business management.
Students will complete the training with a business plan and will be eligible to apply to launch their business using the onsite farm incubator, which provides 1/8 acre plots, water, tools, and equipment.
Outreach Director for CWC Lander and the Alpine Science Institute Joanne Slingerland said the program offers even more opportunities.
Participants have the option to tailor the training to meet their personal goals,” Slingerland said ”
Joanne Slingerland, outreach director for CWC Lander and the Alpine Science Institute
Slingerland said the program will provide mentorship and networking experiences among small-scale farmers. Participants can complete additional courses to earn their certificate in Farm and Ranch Business Management.
The overall goal of the Beginning Farmer Training program is to increase the number of economically and environmentally sustainable farm businesses in the region. Slingerland said providing this training is particularly critical right now.
“Nationwide and in Wyoming, the average age of farmers is 58 years old,” she said. “Many are retiring with no one to take over their farms and pass on their farming knowledge. This situation has necessitated the development of beginning farmer training programs.”
Slingerland said bringing new farmers into the food system will meet demands for locally grown produce, shorten the food supply chain, and build resilient communities by keeping spending local.
CWC hopes to recruit 20 cohort members for the program. The college has the means to cover all members’ costs and fees except housing, which is available at the Alpine Science Institute farm site outside of Lander.
CWC’s Beginning Farmer Training and Farm Incubator program is supported with funding from USDA-NIFA, the LOR Foundation, the Wyoming Community Foundation and Lander Community Foundation.
The college is also offering a workshop to offer more information about the program on January 23, 2022 at 6pm over Zoom. To register for this workshop, go to cwclander.eventbrite.com.