Beginning Farm Training and Farm Incubator
Growing resilient people, food, and communities
As a community college, we know local. And we want to help aspiring and beginning farmers grow nutritious foods by developing financially and environmentally sustainable farm businesses in central Wyoming. Our goal is to expand employment and business opportunities in agriculture while also providing our communities with affordable, sustainable fruits, vegetables, and meat.
Wyoming folks want to produce food for their local markets, but there are some challenges they face; high altitude climate, limited access to arable land, and lack of business skills.
CWC recognizes our partners who have contributed significant financial support for this project.
Training to Fit Your Goals
Located in the foothills of the Wind River mountains at the Alpine Science Institute, the farm incubator trains aspiring and beginning agropreneurs in high-altitude, semi-arid fruit, and vegetable crop production and business planning.
Beginning farmers may enter the program at multiple points according to their educational and business needs. A person interested in home gardening growing food for their family may want to only participate in the Crop Production Practicum. A beginning farmer who needs more accounting and business planning skills to expand their existing farm business may just enroll in the Small-scale Farm Planning & Management Course. A person desiring to expand their home garden into a farm business may apply to enter the Farm Incubator, and, after demonstrating crop production skills and presenting their business plan, lease a farm plot to gain access to irrigated, arable land.
An aspiring farmer may also choose the more comprehensive education pathway by completing an AAS is Regenerative Small Scale Farming or a certificate in Farm & Ranch management emphasizing regenerative agriculture and small scale farming.
As an farmer-in-training participant, you will acquire the skills to:
- Maintain basic financial records
- Understand risk management
- Develop a farm business plan
- Build soil health and plant resiliency through biodynamic practices
- Manage weeds through cover cropping
- Implement pest management strategies
- Design and install drip irrigation systems
- Develop a crop plan
- Maintain crop production records
- Increase production through season extension
- Source and maintain farm equipment
- Incorporate animals into the farm system
- Prepare crops for the market to comply with food safety regulations
In 2023 Central Wyoming College hosted an event, "Harvest Wyoming: Small Farm Symposium"- multiple great seminars were presented across a variety of subjects related to Small Farming. Playlist of the presentations here.
Farm Training Pathways
People want to know where their food comes from and how it is grown. In the regenerative small scale farming program, the student will develop the skills necessary to operate a small, diversified fruit and vegetable farm. Focusing on environmentally sound crop production practices, business skills, economic viability, and social responsibility, this program prepares the student to run their own farm business or be employed in a variety of positions focusing on soil health, horticulture, and food security.
A 5-month comprehensive course focusing on high elevation, semi-arid fruit and vegetable production, and regenerative ag practices.
The format consists of topic-specific online learning modules and in-person field-based classes 3 days each week. Field days include off-site farm tours and guest specialists. Students are registered for the following classes:
Crop Production Practicum I - Early season farming practices. A 6-week hands-on course designed to teach early-season growing methods and techniques suitable for both field and garden scale production. Topics include sustainable, organic, and regenerative agricultural practices, managing soil health, propagation and greenhouse management, and crop planning.
Crop Production Practicum II - Midseason farming practices. A 6-week hands-on course designed to teach mid-season growing methods and techniques suitable for both field and garden scale production. Topics include farm equipment inventory and maintenance, transplanting and direct seeding, managing weeds, pests, and plant disease, composting, and biodynamic preparations.
Crop Production Practicum III- Late season farming practices. A 6-week hands-on course designed to teach late-season farming methods and techniques suitable for both field and garden scale production. Topics include cover cropping, produce marketing, harvesting techniques, food safety, and post-harvest handling.
|Course Number||Course Title||Credits|
|AECL 1970||Crop Production Practicum I||3|
|AECL 1971||Crop Production Practicum II||3|
|AECL 1972||Crop Production Practicum III||3|
A semester-length course covering local, state, and national ag resources, enterprise accounting, bookkeeping, business planning, business risk management, marketing strategies, and more. Students register for AECL 2100 Integrated Resources Management. 3 credits.
|Course Number||Course Title||Credits|
|AECL 2100||Integrated Resources Management||3|
Beginning farmers have access to land, business support, and mentorship after demonstrating crop production skills and presenting their business plans. The incubator leases farm plots ranging in size from one-eighth to one-quarter acre for those students completing a business plan and don’t have access to their own farmland to start their business. The first cohort of incubator farmers will be accepted for the 2022 season. Applications for the Farm Incubator open in January 2022. Check back for updated information.
Students can choose to earn a Certificate in Farm and Ranch Management with an emphasis in regenerative agriculture and small-scale market farming.
Full certificate information: www.cwc.edu/agmanagement