Cooperative extension offers program on specialty crop farming

Jan. 31, 2013 @ 01:53 AM


The Granville County Extension Service has organized a six-week program of training sessions for anyone interested in transitioning into farming. The purpose of the program is to instruct novice growers and farmers in transition on the operation of small-scale specialty crop farms.

Sessions will take place on Tuesday mornings, from 9 a.m.-noon, at the Granville County Cooperative Extension Center, 208 Wall St., Oxford, on the following dates: Feb. 5 and 19; and March 5, 19 and 9; and April 23. Gary Bullen, extension agricultural economist at N.C. State, will begin each 3-hour session with a business planning topic. Attendees will also take field trips to two local farms. The topics are as follows:

• Tuesday — Attendees will evaluate their business concept and discuss its viability, as well as listen to a successful fruit and vegetable grower.

• Feb. 19 — A critical analysis of attendees farm potential and how to take outside factors into account. Attendees will observe some high value horticultural crops.

• March 5 — Questions concerning market research techniques will be discussed.

• March 19 — In this session we will look at where to sell, what price to charge, who are your customers, what is this the best way to get the product to them, as well as learning from an established grower.

• April 9 — Attendees will learn about profitability and how to measure it, as well as growing crops in a high tunnel.

• April 23 — Farm planning and big picture issues will be discusses. Also, a veteran farmers market seller will be on hand.

The program will cost each attendee $100: this will cover lunch at each session, snacks, a business plan manual, and a notebook containing information from each presenter. To download a copy of the program brochure and pre-registration form, go to; or contact Cantaluppi at or call (919) 603-1350.