An AgSchool Certificate of Professional Development indicates a participant has successfully completed the requirements of the program and would have learned or been introduced to the farm management, practical and business skills listed below:
Farm Management Skills
- Agroforestry – Understands how and why to incorporate trees into crop planning and learn about multipurpose trees, nitrogen fixing trees, and most common tropical fruit species.
- Farming Models – Understands the various farming models including conventional, organic, and sustainable farming methods and the pros and cons of each model.
- Farm Safety – Understands safety protocols on a farm including use of tools and equipment and how to create a safety plan for a farming business.
- Crop Types – Understands classes of crops including root, leaf, fruit, and seed and the difference between crops with differing life cycles and management strategies for each type.
- Plant Taxonomy – Categorized a crop plant as a root, leaf, fruit or seed. Understands the importance of plant taxonomy for crop rotation and design crop rotations around crops with differing life cycles.
- Plant Anatomy – Understands the basic parts of a plant and the symbiotic relationship between plant structures and microorganisms.
- Crop Nutrients – Understands the importance of nutrient balance to a successful farming system.
- Plant/Crop Selection – Understands how to plant and manage diverse vegetable varieties and understand the benefits and limitations of annual and perennial crops.
- Pest Management – Understands how to develop a basic integrated pest management (IPM) plan. Understands various pesticide options, how to properly read pesticide labels and be able to use and apply pesticides properly.
- Composting – Understands basic composting and managing on-farm waste and build a compost pile.
- Crop Plan – Understands what elements are needed to design a crop plan and apply this to the design of a crop plan for 1/8-acre production of a 10-week CSA.
- Recordkeeping and Planning – Maintained field prep and production records and understand why they are useful.
- Food Safety – Understands basic food safety requirements and applied it on the farm (hygiene, cleaning, harvest & packing protocols)
- Tools – Familiar with basic farming tools and the safe and effective uses for each including: hand sickle/cane knives, pruners and hoes (colinear, hula/stirrup)
- Equipment – Safely operated under supervision the following: Weed eater, BCS
- Infrastructure – Prepped a farm plot including: mowing/flailing, tilling, making a raised bed, and adding compost and other inputs during plot preparation. Erected a net trellis system for vining crops and weave system for tomatoes.
- Irrigation – Installed irrigation systems, irrigated crops and understands different approaches to irrigating crops, when to use each type, and costs involved.
- Soil Health – Understands the components of healthy, high quality soil and how to prep a field from standing cover crop to a plantable area.
- Cover Crops – Understands what a cover crop is and what the potential benefits are for incorporating cover crops into a management rotation.
- Seeding and Planting – Prepared an appropriate potting mix from raw materials. Understands the purpose of each material used and how a starting mix is different than a stepping up mix. Planted seeds in nursery with soil mix and stepped up nursery starts into larger pots with soil mix then transplanted nursery crops into plot as well as direct sow crops in plot. Understands the spacing and depth requirements for each variety.
- Pest Control – Sprayed or applied pesticides and foliar nutrients under supervision.
- Weeding – Began to differentiate between weeds and crops, identified common weeds in the field, determined how and where they thrive, and management considerations. Identified weed pressures associated with small-scale vegetable production and understands how to use a flame weeder and manage weeds with hoe.
- Harvest – Understands safe harvesting protocols, health concerns with harvesting, quality control when harvesting for markets and how to pick, process, and pack produce for a CSA.
- Business Operations – Understands the steps to take to be a commercial producer at various scales.
- Revenue Options – Understands market models such as a farmers market, CSA, and wholesale.
- Marketing – Sold product, interacted with a customer, volunteered at a farmers’ market, obtained customer feedback and developed educational material for customer retention.