An AgPro Certificate of Professional Development indicates a participant has successfully completed the AgSchool program and has gone on to complete the requirements of the AgPro program where they would have learned or been introduced to the advanced farm management, practical and business skills listed below:
Farm Management Skills
- Agroforestry – Ability to design a 10 year farm plan using knowledge about multipurpose trees, nitrogen fixing trees, and most common tropical fruit species, is familiar with resources from Agroforestry.net and knows how to plant, manage and harvest bananas.
- Farming Models – Visited an organic, conventional, and sustainable farm and understands the pros and cons of a market garden scale (1/8 to 2 acres) vs mechanized scale 2 acre plus.
- Crop Nutrients – Understand how to identify and analyze soil and plant nutrients, calculate input rates and make and apply vermicompost and compost tea.
- Plant/Crop Selection – Understand how to select appropriate crop varieties (i.e. disease resistance/tolerance, day length, adaptability to area, etc.)
- Pest Management – Understand the importance of providing beneficial insect habitat and techniques to do so, describe pesticide protocols including REI and harvest window, use hand lens and dissecting microscope to diagnose plant pests and disease and identify nematode infestation and damage.
- Composting – Able to access and utilize the resources available locally to produce compost on medium scale.
- Crop Plan – Developed a crop plan incorporating succession planting and harvest targets and understand how to design plot and cover crop management to reflect crop plan.
- Recordkeeping and Planning – Developed a field map.
- Food Safety – Handled and process their harvest safely and is able to list and explain Best Management Practices and write a detailed food safety plan for a farm.
- Tools – Repaired and maintained tools including: hand sickle/cane knives, pruners, hoes (colinear, hula/stirrup) and has knowledge of and experience using weed flamers, seeds, and fertilizer/soil spreaders.
- Equipment – When considered ready by Farm Coach, the participant will have independently operated a BCS and tractor (if available on site) and learned how to identify when something is wrong and may need repair, how to perform required regular maintenance on small engine power equipment and safely operated the following farm maintenance power equipment: BCS, tractor and chainsaw
- Infrastructure – Able to independently prepare farm plot including: mowing/flailing, tilling, making a raised bed and adding compost and other inputs during plot preparation. Participants will have also learned how to erect net trellis system for vining crops and weave system for tomatoes.
- Irrigation – Setup irrigation system from riser, diagnose irrigation system problems and repair/retrofit existing irrigation systems, evaluate the efficiency of existing irrigation systems and understand how to measure PSI and flow rate.
- Soil Health – Able to read and understand a soil test and independently prepared 1/8 acre from standing cover crop to farmable area.
- Cover Crops – Understand how to integrate cover crops in a sustainable agriculture system and how to select cover crops for various farming situations.
- Seeding and Planting – Able to set up a small nursery area, start seedlings, and select appropriate crops and varieties, set up and utilize trellises and other crop supports and understand more efficient direct seeding and transplanting techniques for larger areas.
- Pest Control – Independently sprayed or applied pesticides and foliar nutrients.
- Weeding – Able to identify common weeds in the field, determine how and where they thrive, and management considerations and managed weeds with flame weeder, weed mat and hoe. If interested in potential use of herbicides the participant will have worked with their Farm Coach to recognize sensitive areas and organisms affected by herbicide applications, drift, and run-off; and differentiate among pre-plant, pre-emergence, and post-emergence herbicide applications.
- Harvest – Understand how to identify when various vegetable crops are ready for harvest, manage harvests for repeat harvests of crops that allow this and harvested crops and packed for CSA, retail and wholesale distribution.
- Business Operations – Understand how to develop a business plan, document a production plan, the different business structures and how to register a business and developed an awareness of various Federal, State, and private business resources available to them.
- Financial Operations – Understand how to use a production plan to develop a financial projection, the concepts behind a cost of production analysis and identified start up costs for their proposed farm.
- Marketing – Helped setup and run a farmers’ market booth, marketed a CSA product, interacted with customers, packaged a product for sale, evaluated various market channels and delivered product to customers.
- Value-Added Products – Understands how to develop a value-added product (i.e. steps involved, laws, where to find answers).