New Online Crop Production Bootcamp Offered – AgriLife Today

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Texas AgrAbility and BattleGround to Breaking Ground programs have developed a new online version of the Crop Production Bootcamp.

The BattleGround to Breaking Ground program is designed for active duty and former military personnel, as well as beginning farmers and ranchers. (Photo Texas A&M AgriLife)

The Farm Production Learner Camp is an introductory course for people who are interested in production farming but have limited farming experience. The course is now offered in-person or online for those considering the full BattleGround to Breaking Ground program.

BattleGround to Breaking Ground is a four-phase program designed for former and active duty military personnel, beginning farmers, ranchers, and others interested in getting involved in production agriculture.

“This new Phase 1 program will provide participants with knowledge of essential agricultural production concepts and prepare them to create an agricultural business plan,” said Erin Kimbrough, BattleGround to Breaking Ground program manager, Bryan-College Station.

Kimbrough said the online course helps participants understand introductory farming and ranching concepts and provides business planning and training.

“It includes a session, conducted with military veteran farmers and ranchers, that provides best practices for overcoming barriers to becoming successful agricultural producers,” she noted.

Participants will also see a session on additional training programs and receive a certificate at the end of the course.

Kimbrough said the online course is optional for BattleGround candidates in Breaking Ground Phase 2.

The cost of the online course is $30 and it can be accessed at https://tx.ag/NewPhaseOne. On the link page, enter “Add to Cart”. When a new page appears, tap on the “Add Account” option located under the “Login” bar and complete the application.

In-person boot camp

Kimbrough said the in-person boot camp sessions will cover the same introductory concepts as the online course, plus a farm tour and hands-on training on:

— Agricultural and food security.

— Business planning and management.

— Diversification and marketing strategies.

— Financial and risk management.

— Agricultural rehabilitation and vocational training of veterans.

— Management and conservation of land and natural resources.

— Basic production of vegetables and row crops.

— Basic animal production.

— Alternative and value-added agricultural enterprises.

An in-person training camp will be held Jan. 9-13 at College Station.

The fee for the in-person boot camp will be $350, with a $225 cash discount applied through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute for Food and Agriculture, bringing the total cost per participant to $125. It will also include a free link to the Phase 1 online course.

Program steps

Three people in the field during a hands-on activity as part of the BattleGround to Breaking Ground program.
The BattleGround to Breaking Ground program uses a combination of online education and hands-on, in-person learning experiences. (Photo Texas A&M AgriLife)

Phase 1 is part of the four-phase Battleground to Breaking Ground certificate program that can be used to verify agriculture training hours to improve participants’ eligibility for agriculture-related funding sources.

Successful completion of Phase 1 also increases the participant’s chances of submitting a successful tuition waiver request for the second and third phases of the BattleGround to Breaking Ground program.

“The Phase 1 online course is encouraged prior to applying to Phases 2 and 3 of the BattleGround to Breaking Ground program, but not required,” Kimbrough said.

The second phase of the BattleGround to Breaking Ground program is the business planning course, and the third phase is the agricultural production course. The fourth and final phase is to become a program mentor.

“The program uses a combination of online courses and hands-on training to deliver training in farm business planning, business management, farm business financing, farm resources, farm marketing and crop production” , said Kimbrough.

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