Announcing ‘Ground Work’

Announcing the 'Ground Work' Project from the University of Vermont Extension

Strategies for Teaching Tractor Skills and Farm Mechanization Decision Making 

The New Farmer Project of the University of Vermont Extension Service is offering a new professional development (train-the-trainer) program (called Ground Work) to prepare and support agricultural educators, farmers, and farm service providers to deliver farm mechanization and tractor education to beginning farmers, farm workers, and apprentices throughout the Northeast. See below for more information and how to apply. Where: On-line (5 sessions) and Essex Junction, Vermont (one day) Dates: On-line sessions are January 23rd, February 13th, March 13th, April 10th, and May 29th.  Thehands-on training is May 21st or 22nd (trainee choice). Time: On-line sessions 11:00 – 12:00 / Hands-on days are full days. Registration Deadline: December 20th, 2013 - apply by visiting this link. Cost: Thanks to a grant from the Northeast SARE Professional Development Program, there is no tuition cost to participate. However, participants are expected to cover travel expenses to attend the hands-on, in-person training day in Essex Junction, Vermont.  Lodging will be provided as needed.

Who: Ground Work is seeking a diverse group of technical assistance providers, agricultural educators and farmer-educators from the Northeast to participate in this train-the-trainer project.  We assume that program participants will be diverse in experience, geography, and learner audience and will apply what they learn in a variety of ways – as lead instructors, program assistants, one-on-one coaches etc.

Why: To succeed, farmers must understand the equipment needs of their enterprise, how these needs may change as the business grows, and how these needs will be met.  Yet, new farmers increasingly come from non-farming backgrounds and have limited experience with machinery.  In Vermont and other parts of the Northeast, there are limited opportunities to access tractor education that is a) geared to adult farmer operators and their employees and b) relevant to the kinds of diversified and small-scale farms that are emerging throughout the region.  Ground Work hopes to address this need by building trainer capacity throughout the region.

Learn more here or contact Kristen Mullins at or 802.656.2034.

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