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UNCE launches Beginner Farmers and Ranchers program

Posted 11/8/2011

2012 workshops will focus on helping producers who are new to agriculture

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension will launch a Beginning Farmers and Rancher’s program early next year with a series of two-day workshops covering everything from field crops to producing locally grown meat.

Program leader Staci Emm, the Extension Educator for Mineral County, said the workshops will likely start in March 2012 and be held periodically through September in locations all around Nevada.

Emm said she has assembled a talented team of Extension faculty to teach the workshops, which are geared toward Nevada farmers and ranchers who have been involved in agricultural production for less than 10 years or who have diversified their agriculture operation within the last 10 years.

“We’re pulling together faculty who are leading experts in their areas from across the country and understand the needs of people who are learning to farm and ranch,” Emm said. “Each workshop will feature experts from within and outside the state of Nevada bringing science-based knowledge that producers want.”

Emm said the program will be a combination of classroom instruction and field trips to show participants the practical applications of the in-class studies. A part of each workshop will be hands-on help in developing useful business practices that help farmers become more profitable.

Workshops in 2012 will focus on three areas, including:

Field Crops: Old vs. New: This program will explore the production of teff, a small grain crop that uses less water than alfalfa, as well as such traditional crops as alfalfa and grass hay. The workshop will also explore growing crops for biofuels or biomass and crops for seed harvesting. Locations: Lovelock (March 15-16) and Fallon (Sept. 27-28)

Processing and Selling Locally Grown Meat Products: This workshop will focus on beef, goat, lamb, pigs and poultry production. Locations: Logandale (April 26-27) and Gardnerville (Aug. 16-17)

So You Want to be a Produce Farmer? This session will cover such issues as regulatory compliance, food safety regulations, water rights, organic vs. all-natural and season extension strategies, such as hoop houses. Locations: Las Vegas (June 7-8) and Reno (to be announced).

All two-day sessions will cost $50 and will including two lunches and snacks.

Extension is launching the program with the help of a $672,000 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Those who qualify for the program include:

  • People who have never been involved in agriculture before.
  • Those who have been farming or ranching less than 10 years.
  • Family members who are entering a family agricultural operation or have been involved less than 10 years.
  • Experienced farmers and ranchers who want to diversify or have been producing a new agricultural product for less than 10 years.
  • Spouses who are joining their husband’s or wife’s farming or ranching operation or have joined it within the last 10 years.

For more information about the program, contact Mineral County Extension Educator Staci Emm at 775-945-3444. Look for details about registering for the 2012 workshops in early 2012 at

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