South Carolina residents looking to build their farm businesses can now learn what they need to start with a firm foundation thanks to an online class from Clemson Extension.
Farming Foundations is a free course that teaches farmers knowledge they need to get their farms moving in the right direction. It is taught by Clemson Cooperative Extension Service horticulture agents and consists of 14 learning modules.
Zack Snipes, assistant program leader for the Clemson Extension horticulture team and area horticulture agent, said classes focus on vegetable production but many topics such as soil testing, fertility and irrigation can be applied to other farming ventures as well.
“This course was designed for new or beginning farmers who are looking to hobby farm or start their own commercial farm,” Snipes said. “Agents get many questions from prospective farmers. There is a ton of information to learn when starting out, so this class is structured to give participants a good foundation before they start.”
During the course, participants learn good management practices that can “help prevent them from making costly mistakes before they start,” Snipes said. Topics covered include soils, fertility, field prep, irrigation, farm safety, small tools and tractors, Extension agent assistance and more. The class comes with assignments such as taking soil samples or making farm tool checklists. These activities create the foundation for farm recordkeeping.
The course has open enrollment, so people can register anytime. Once participants start the course, they have 120 days to complete it.
“After completing the course, participants will have a portfolio that will help them begin their farming journey,” Snipes said.
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