BFRDP Projects

Successfully Navigating the First 10 Years: Education Targeting Farm Dev Stages to Achieve Profitability and Environmental Sustainability
[Final Report]

Award Amount: $670,000
Grant Program: 2014 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Garry Stephenson
Organization: Oregon State University


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

With the nation’s need to foster a new generation of farmers, beginning farmer education must go beyond simply offering training to get them started farming and instead create educational programs and tools that keep them farming. This project created a learning progression from basic to advanced education—based on farmer developmental stages—to support beginning farmers and ranchers successfully through their first 10 years and beyond. The project built on Oregon State University’s established basic beginning farmer education programs, adding advanced
education in business management and sustainable farming methods. The program and the new advancements created an education pathway that includes experiential and instructional courses. The project is a powerful partnership between Oregon Tilth, Inc., and the Oregon State University Small Farms Program.

Progress related to project objectives:

1. With extensive farmer participation, we identified four key developmental stages
of farmers and farm businesses. We continue to use this information to inform and develop basic and advanced curriculum that is ready when the farmers are ready.

2. We developed one online course (25 hours of content) and two topical online modules (3 hours of content each) influenced by objective 1 as sophisticated online education offered in a hybrid face-to-face and online format.

3. We established Teaching Farms at three Oregon State University research farms. These Teaching Farms offered a variety of field-based educational events. In addition, each farm has a focus area for curriculum development for adoption at other sites in Oregon and nationally. Examples include: dry farming demonstration and grower collaborative, and basic hands on training in farm production.

4. We created and support four women’s farming networks in high demand areas of Oregon serving and connecting over 400 beginning and experienced women farmers. With our other approaches to networks we now maintain a total of seven farmer networks that include nearly 800 farmers.

Number of Participants: 1132


Promotional Materials

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Educational Materials

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Reports & Evaluations

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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success