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Beginner Farmer Training Program
Our Beginner Farmer Training Program (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.
- Join a diverse, inclusive network of new and experienced farmers! We are committed to building a safe, supportive network for all trainees, free from discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, religion, veteran status, military obligations, or marital status.
- 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.
- Accessibility: we are committed to making the BFTP accessible to all aspiring farmers. For classroom curriculum, there are both in-person and online options. For on-farm events, if a given site does not meet a trainee's access needs, we will work together to find an alternate option. We want to make this work! Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Questions? Please email Sarah Sohn, BFTP Director, at: email@example.com
Want to learn a bit more about the BFTP and how it can help you start your own farm journey? 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, 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.