A New Season at California Farm Academy

California Farm Academy
A new season always brings renewed energy to the California Farm Academy and 2017 is proving to be no different. This year we will be both growing our existing programs and also establishing a new one - Farm and Ranch Apprenticeship Program.
California Farm Academy 1st Day of Class at the Cannery Barn.
The Beginning Farmer Training Program at the California Farm Academy is entering its sixth year. We have 19 students in this year's group. This brings the total number of students to 112 that the program has trained since its inception in 2012. The cohort this year, as always, are from varied backgrounds ranging from those actively working on farms to others switching careers from IT and banking sectors. A new aspect of the program in 2017 will the addition of an extra field day that will help students harvest and prepare produce for a CSA market. This was based past participant feedback asking for more field learning time and the program manager's wish to incorporate market related activities into the program.
First day of instruction for 20 beginning farmers of California Farm Academy Class 6.
The Farm Business Incubator Program at California Farm Academy is also expanding this year with one more site added in West Sacramento. The lease for the Cannery farm which has 3.75 cultivable acres was approved by the Davis city council in January after a 2 year process and many meetings with city officials. We have nine farm enterprises on our six incubator farm sites this year (West Sacramento-4, Davis-1 and Winters-1). A dedicated mentorship component that will provide timely guidance on technical and business planning for each farm has been added this year in this program. Towards the end of 2016 one of our incubator farmers Jay Cuff moved on the start his own farm on leased land in Dixon. While he is not the first to move on and start and farm enterprise he is the first to have competed the full 4 year tenure at the incubator.
Greenhouse at the Cannery Farm
Beginning Farm and Ranch Manager Apprenticeship at California Farm Academy is a new program that will help to provide another pathway for new farmers into farming or open opportunities for those who want to become skilled employees on farms. The apprenticeship program is a collaborative effort between CFA and three local "mentor farms" - Say Hay, Soil Born and Rominger Brothers. There are 3 apprentices in the program for 2017. CFA is also working with the Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS) and the Los Rios Community College District to accredit this program. Its structured curriculum and on the job training spaces make it a unique program in the farm sector and once accredited it will be the only such program in the state. In the coming years this initiative is bound to grow, bringing in more mentor farms into the program and helping support more apprentices in the region.

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