Technical Farmer Training

Designed in collaboration with our Farmer Educators, our technical farm courses and workshops instruct students in a specific skill set for running a small farm.  Technical Farmer Trainings are focused on advanced topics designed for farmers who are already cultivating land or have plans to begin farming soon.

Course offerings will change from year to year depending on the availability of Mentor Farmers and current trends in farming.

Upcoming Technical Training:

Click on the specific course links for more information or to register. Tuition assistance is available for those with limited resources.

Grazing & Pasture Management • April 18, May 16, June 20, July 25, August 15, September 19, October 17, November 21, 5-8pm
Tuition: $25


This eight-part technical course starts from the important details of how pasture management effects grass growth, works through the nitty-gritty details of successful pasture based farms and finishes with how to get your pastured meat processed and marketed. Each month throughout the grazing season there will be an intensive workshop on a different farm highlighting specific topics while also showcasing the unique elements of each farm in respect to their grazing systems.  Each farm will give participant’s a different perspective and insight on how to set up their own grazing systems.


Previous Technical Trainings:

Northland mower2Draft Animal Practicum An introduction to working with farm animals, including guided hands-on practice directing animals in an enclosure. No prior experience necessary.

Year-Round High Tunnels Series (held in 2015): A 27-hour Year-Round High Tunnels Course, patterned after Groundswell’s popular farmer-designed course in Holistic Organic Orchard Management, will be held on the second Sunday of each month, March through November. Each session will be held at a different farm, highlighting diverse production systems.  Host farmers and Cornell Cooperative Extension educators will address the full range of production and management issues including: soil fertility, pest and disease management, varieties, economics, marketing, and crop-specific practices for tomatoes, greens and fruit.

Farm Business Planning Course (held each winter): In collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County and Alternatives Federal Credit Union’s Business CENTS Program, Groundswell offers an intensive Farm Business Planning Course each winter. The class covers all major aspects of the farm business start-up process, including assessing your resources; legal and regulatory issues; production planning; marketing; financial feasibility, budgets and record keeping; and more. It is also appropriate for established farmers who want to improve their business planning and management skills.

Holistic Organic Orchard Management (held in 2014): This was a unique opportunity to learn holistic orchard management from some of the region’s most respected and innovative orchardists.  Topics ranged from pruning basics to pest and ground cover management and everything in between.  This course has developed into a learning network: the Finger Lakes Orchard eXchange.

Groundswell’s New Farmer Training Programs are supported in part by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program under grant #11674923.