Organic Farmer Training Program

The Organic Farmer Training Program is a nine-month intensive training program in year-round organic farming focusing on diversified production of vegetables, livestock, flowers, fruits and herbs for local markets. The program emphasizes student learning in hands-on farm management and decision-making as well as development of necessary farming and business skills and knowledge.

Students engage in the management of the 15 acre certified organic farm including its 20,000 sqft of passive solar greenhouse space and the SOF production for its primary markets including a 48week CSA, 7 month on campus farm stand, and sales to campus dinning services. Students also develop competencies in farm skills through skills trainings and by engaging in the day-to-day work and operation of the farm. Hands-on-training is combined with workshops, lectures, readings, and assignments that build participants’ knowledge and understanding of organic farming principles and practices.

The program is designed to give participants a strong background in production skills as well as the knowledge, management, and business planning skills necessary to operate a diversified small farm. Program components include learning rotations in CSA, Farm Stand and Propagation, as well as management and oversight of a production field and hoophouse, and individual advising sessions with instructors.  Participants use and learn maintenance of equipment, including tractors (driven & walking), implements and and other small mechanical hand tools. 

This training program prepares graduates for careers in organic farming, urban agriculture / community gardening, and other sustainable agriculture related careers. Program participants who satisfactorily complete the program will earn a Certificate from MSU Student Organic Farm and MSU Department of Horticulture.

Scholarships available! Merit and need-based scholarships are made possible by funds raised at our annual Hoophouse Gala, sponsored by MSU Residential and Hospitality Services. We are proud and excited to be able to offer these scholarships in order to decrease barriers to training for new and beginning farmers.

Our 2016 application will be posted in June of 2015. Click here to download the application for 2015. Please note that this application may change slightly for 2016 admission.