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Beginner Farmer Training Program


All spots are filled for 2018!  Applications for the 2019 season will open mid-August 2018.  Please signup for our email list HERE to receive notifications.


The BFTP offers a 12-month immersive training experience that combines a comprehensive classroom curriculum with hands-on learning at some of the region's leading sustainable farms.  

  • We offer 3 training levels, designed to meet the specific needs of beginning farmers at different stages in their careers. 
  • All 3 levels of the BFTP are FREE and trainees receive a host of benefits: annual FHCASA membership, free admission to our popular winter conference and year-round field days, and access to a supportive network of new and experienced farmers.
  • This is a region-wide program, open to beginning farmers in  MD, VA, DE—including the Delmarva Peninsula—and DC, WV, and PA.  We offer farmer-to-farmer training opportunities throughout the Chesapeake region, and classroom requirements may be completed in-person or online. 
  • We offer training in diverse operation types, including: vegetables, fruit, cut flowers, herbs, and livestock at urban, peri-urban, and rural farm settings.
  • The program is also designed with built-in scheduling flexibility to allow new farmers to further their training while maintaining their own farms or other work.  

Questions?  Please email Sarah Sohn, BFTP Director, at:

Want to learn a bit more about the BFTP and how it can help you start your own farm journey? Join us for a BFTP Info Session on Sunday, August 27th on Delmarva in Salisbury, MD at 1:00 pm at the Wicomico County Extension Office 28647 Old Quantico Rd, Salisbury, MD, 21801. Plus, check out this webinar on "Following Your Farm Dreams", from the Chesapeake Foodshed Network, featuring BFTP Director Sarah Sohn and Delmarva Program Manager Niamh Shortt.



The BFTP is in part funded through a National Institue of Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant.  The "Ensuring New Farmers’ Long-Term Commercial Success: A Comprehensive Beginner Farmer Training Program for Maryland" is a collaborative grant project shared by Future Harvest CASA, University of Maryland Extension, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Chesapeake Bay Foundation/Maryland Grazers Network, Farm Alliance of Baltimore, and Chesapeake Farm to Table.  The BFTP is also made possible through the generous support of Battye Foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, Town Creek Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Coastal Sunbelt Produce, Maryland Department of Agriculture, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Conservation, Behrens Foundation, Getrude’s, HEX Ferments, The Market at River Falls, The Common Market Coop, Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, and individual donors and partners.