Beginning Farmer Training Program

Posted: November 3, 2014

PA-WAgN is sharing this opportunity with our members who may be looking for much more in depth training as a beginning farmer than our mentor programs can offer.

Beginner Farmer Training Program Now Accepting Applications


A unique, year-long training program for beginning farmers is now accepting applications for farmer trainees in the Chesapeake region. The program’s goal is to equip the region’s brightest new farmers with the knowledge and hands-on experience necessary to start a successful farm.  
The average age of farmers in the region is close to 60-years-old, according to the latest USDA census. At the same time, demand for fresh, local produce is also on the rise. A wave of aspiring farmers, young and older, are ready to take up the mantle, but obstacles are many: access to workable, affordable land; finding resources; and connecting with other new farmers, to name a few. Enter the Beginner Farmer Training Program (BFTP), now in its sixth year, which provides a comprehensive, year-long experience designed for new farmers ready to farm.
The BFTP is unique among farmer training programs across the nation in that it allows participants to work part- or full-time at their existing farms or jobs while completing training. Participants are encouraged to transition into farming with a detailed crop and business plan in place.
BFTP pairs trainees with experienced farmers who have already established profitable, sustainable farms in the region. In addition to this hands-on training, BFTP also provides classes, workshops, and field days. Speaking about his experience in the program, graduate Devin Barto said: “I believe that I could assume the responsibilities of a farm following this training experience because of the skills that I gained.”  Barto now manages a large CSA at Pennypack Farm in Horsham, PA.
BFTP accepts applications from new farmers located throughout the Chesapeake, including MD, DC, VA, WV, DE and PA.  To find out more about the program qualifications and to complete an online application, go to: