Education to become a farmer?

jimbad05(z5 OH)October 25, 2006

I'm 19 years old and interested in sustainable agriculture. I'd like to have a small farm someday, and I'm really inspired by people like Joel Salatin.

As far as my education goes, I began studying economics at a local university. Then, as I learned more about agriculture, I decided to transfer to Ohio State University to study agribusiness. Now that I'm here I see that agribusiness courses aren't really relevant to a small farmer. Basically, the degree is the same as any general business degree.

I'm considering transferring back to my local university because it's cheaper. It seems to me that small farming is something I'm just going to have to read about and experiment with on my own. Can anyone provide any insight or has anyone been in a similar situation? What is the best way to learn about farming?


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Don't discount the business side of agriculture, after all, you want to make money in the long run. Aren't there universities which offer agriculture over there? And yes, your best teacher will be experience - can you work with someone local who can teach you the basics? We have a small farm here, and we don't know what we are doing either, lol. But there is a lot of information out there, come up with a specific plan, eg, raising goats, then go out and learn what you need to know to raise goats. You will never know everything about everything, but you can learn about whichever aspect of farming appeals to you most.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 7:14PM
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Late in life, I discovered a love of horticulture. I found a landscape design certification program at a local community college and earned my certification. You might check out your local community colleges to see what kinds of horticultural or agricultural programs they have. Community college programs tend to be more hands-on and practical than some university programs.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 4:04PM
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To become a farmer, it is important to first understand the nature of the career. The pay is often poor, the work is hard, the hours are long, and there is very little thanks. You must be disciplined and self-motivated. The best place to start is to work for a few years on another farm. Learn as much as possible about the care of the animals or crops, learn how to use the equipment, and make contacts with other farmers in the area. Building up this experience will allow you the chance to determine if farming is right for you, as well as giving you the experience you need to get started.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 2:55AM
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I would work for a local farmer or co-op to see what sort of knowledge they find the most needed. Also write to Joel or his son Dan and see what sort of an education they think is needed to become a sustainable farmer. Perhaps and ecology degree would be better.
Best of luck to you.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 5:27PM
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