MIDDLESEX COUNTY, N.J. — RU Ready to Farm, a new beginner farmer training program from the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension, will hold its first online information session on May 1, 2021 at 10 a.m. This program is directed by Middlesex County Agricultural Agent Bill Hlubik and will provide a combination of online and in-person hands-on training to new and beginner farmers from around the state. This information session will:
- Highlight the need for a next generation of farmers.
- Provide an overview of the RU Ready to Farm training program.
- Explain how to sign-up for the program.
- Outline the level of commitment expected from program participants.
- Feature farmers sharing the story of their horse-powered diversified farm in coastal Maine.
Registration for the information session can be found here: https://go.rutgers.edu/db88up1r
Agriculture in New Jersey is at a tipping point, with many experienced farmers nearing retirement in the coming years. “The future of our food system and farm production will depend on nurturing and training the next generation of farmers. As the average age of farmers in our state approaches 60 years old, we will need intelligent, energetic growers with great ideas to carry on the legacy of our established successful farmers from our Garden State,” says Program Director Bill Hlubik. The COVD-19 pandemic demonstrated the vital importance of a strong local food system, as customers turned to their local farmers for safe and reliable food access during a period of unprecedented supply disruptions. Well trained and well supported farmers are the backbone of this type of resilient food system.
The RU Ready to Farm beginner farmer training program is supported by Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant no. 2020-70017-32784 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension helps the diverse population of New Jersey adapt to a rapidly changing society and improve their lives and communities through an educational process that uses science-based knowledge. Through science-based educational programs, Rutgers Cooperative Extension truly enhances the quality of life for residents of New Jersey and brings the wealth of knowledge of the state university to local communities.
—Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County