Beginning Farmer Training Programs

Beginning Farmer Training Programs vary from formal to informal, and from long and intensive to short and basic. Find the right program for you on this page.

The ‘Educational and Training Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture” is a comprehensive, searchable state by state directory of compiled by the USDA Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.

College/University-Based Programs: (These are not necessarily for college credit but are affiliated with a college.)

A Directory of Student Farms in the U.S. and Canada has been put together by the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association.

Individual programs include:

The Tompkins Cortland Community College Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Program, Near Ithaca, New York. Visit the TC3 Farm Website at

The University of Maine Sustainable Agriculture Program

The Michigan State University Student Organic Farm Certificate Program, a 9 month intensive training program in year round organic farming.

UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture.

Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers, Madison, WI & Satellite Locations.

Intervale Center’s Farmer Apprentice Program in Burlington, Vermont.

FEATURED PROGRAM: The Tompkins Cortland Community College Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Program Offers Hands on Farmer Training and the Chance to Earn a College Degree in 4 Semesters – Earn an Associates Degree in Sustainable Farming and Food Systems while developing the practical skills and experience necessary to run a small farm business.

Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden, New York (just outside of Ithaca) has developed a new degree program as part of their Farm to Bistro initiative. The Sustainable Farming and Food Systems program emphasizes the practical skills it takes to manage a small, diverse farm, while providing students with a broad exposure to the social and ecological considerations of truly sustainable food production and distribution. Students in the program take courses in entrepreneurship, accounting, environmental studies, biology, and unique food systems seminars. They will apply this knowledge on a working farm located on Tompkins Cortland Community College’s main campus and work closely with food retailers, restaurants, as well as the Tompkins Cortland Community College Eatery and the College’s Coltivare culinary center in downtown Ithaca. Housing and financial aid are available. To learn more, please visit the Sustainable Farming and Food Systems page on the Tompkins Cortland Community College website or contact Program Chair Taylor Reid by E-mail.

Farm-Based Training Programs:

To learn about internship programs and offerings as well as farm jobs, visit this page:

The Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, East Troy, WI offers training programs for beginning farmers including Whole Farm Workshops

The Farm School, North Orange, Massachusetts has a One Year Learn to Farm Program

Foundation Farm School, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Farmshare Austin’s FarmerStarter program is designed to provide aspiring farmers with the essential skills and training needed to manage a sustainable farming business.

The Organic Farm School is an 8-month, full-time, farm-based training program on scenic Whidbey Island in Washington state. Their curriculum includes organic vegetable, seed, and livestock production as well as training in business planning and marketing. Visit for more information.

Jefferson County FIELD (Farmer Innovation, Education, and Leadership Development) Program, Jefferson County, Washington (Olympic Peninsula)

The New Farmer School is an offshoot of Thompson Small Farm, a horse-powered initiative begun in 2007 by Andrea Thompson and Jonathan Wright with the goal of providing locally, sustainably produced food and an example of a human-scaled, alternative way of doing things.

Biodynamic Training & Apprenticeships are listed by the Biodynamic Association.

The School of Adaptive Agriculture (formerly the Grange Farm School) in Willits, California is dedicated to teaching the next generation of responsible, innovative, and successful farmers. They offer hands-on training combined with a rigorous academic curriculum through their Practicum Student Program.

The Permaculture Skills Center in Sebastapol, California is a 5 acre demonstration site and educational institution dedicated to sharing regenerative land development and management practices.

Calypso Farm and Ecology Center offers a farmer training program in Alaska

The Bridge City Farm School offers a hands-on apprenticeship focusing on small scale, bio-intensive, market farming in the Pacific Northwest.

The California Farm Academy run by the Center for land based learning features a Beginning Farmer Training Program, an Apprenticeship Program, and A Farm Business Incubator.

Mentorship/Part-Time Programs:

The Land Stewardship Project’s Farm Beginnings Program, based in Minnesota is one of the best know and most respected programs in the country.

The Michigan Land Use Institute’s Get Farming! Programs, Traverse City, MI

Groundswell: Center for Local Food & Farming, Ithaca, NY

Urban Farming Programs:

Farm School NYC, New York City

Earthworks Agriculture Training, Detroit

Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship Program, Oregon

Online Programs:

Beginning Farmer Resource Center is a part of Cornell University’s New York Beginning Farmer’s Project.

Practical Farminars of Iowa Hosts lots of great Farminars, and archives them too.

Washington State University offers an online certificate in organic agriculture.

Penn State Cooperative Extension Beginning Farmer School


C.R.A.F.T. (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training)

The Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) is a farmer-led coalition organized by sustainable agriculture farmers in a self-selected geographic region. Participating farmers offer up their time, talents and experience to help prepare the next generation of farmers. The secret to CRAFT’s success is simple — farmers learn most effectively from other farmers. CRAFT provides farmer-to-farmer learning and access to the social network and culture of local farmers. To learn more, visit the CRAFT Website at:

CRAFT Programs in North America organized by region: