Farm Business Training

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Grow the Growers - Program Overview

Grow the Grower Program to Launch November 21st

After a year or more of planning, numerous community meetings and countless interviews with the agriculture community, the Cultivating Bernalillo County 'Grow the Growers' Program is ready to be tested.

'Grow the Growers' is a farm training program created to attract new and emerging farmers into professional food production. In New Mexico, the average age of a farmer is approximately 63 years old, 5 years older than the average farmer nationwide, and more than 90 percent of food purchased by New Mexicans is imported from outside the state. As a result, the primary intent of the program is job creation and business development to support the viability, continuity and sustainability of a locally-based, year-round food production system.

The program is a new initiative that will integrate the existing land and water resources of Bernalillo County's open space properties with the education and research expertise of the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service. The Extension Service will educate, train, incubate and accelerate the success of next-generation farmers in Bernalillo County. The County will provide financial and logistical support through the program's 2016-2017 pilot year. Additional public and private partners (i.e., McCune Charitable Foundation, Thornburg Foundation, MRCOG) are assisting the County and the Extension Service with planning and implementation of the program.

How Does it Work?

The program begins with a set of eight in-classroom courses on a broad spectrum of business development and production techniques. These classes begin on November 21 at the Extension Service building (1510 Menaul Blvd NW, Albuquerque, NM). During this first year (the pilot year), the classes will be followed by field demonstrations and apprenticeships at the Gutierrez-Hubbell House History and Cultural Center (6029 Isleta Blvd., SW, Albuquerque, NM). Additional intensive internship trainings will be held at other local farms in the spring of 2017.

The in-classroom courses are open to the public, see timeline below. However, only those who successfully complete all eight courses and an enrollment application packet will be invited to continue on to the apprenticeship and incubation phases of the program.

Program Timeline

November 2016 - January 2017, Eight core competency classes

February 2017, Applications accepted for internships and apprenticeships

March - October 2017, In-field demonstrations, local farm internships and County farm apprenticeships

October 2017, Applications accepted for County incubator field space

November 2017, Incubation leases signed