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AgriLife Extension offers new online Agriculture Production Bootcamp

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The Texas AgrAbility and BattleGround to Breaking Ground programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service have developed a new online version of the Agriculture Production Bootcamp.

The Agriculture Production Bootcamp is an introductory course for individuals interested in production agriculture but have limited agricultural experience. The course is now offered either in person or online for those considering the full BattleGround to Breaking Ground program.BattleGround to Breaking Ground is a four-phase program designed for former and active-duty military members, beginning farmers, ranchers and others interested in becoming involved in production agriculture.

“This new Phase 1 program will provide participants with knowledge of essential agricultural production concepts and prepare them to create an agriculture business plan,” said Erin Kimbrough, BattleGround to Breaking Ground program manager, Bryan-College Station.

Kimbrough said the online course helps participants understand introductory farm and ranch concepts and provides business planning and training

“It includes a session, conducted with military veteran farmers and ranchers, that provides best practices for navigating barriers to becoming successful agricultural producers,” she noted.

Participants will also view a session about additional training programs and will receive a certificate upon course completion.

Kimbrough said the online course is optional for BattleGround to Breaking Ground Phase 2 applicants.

The cost for the online course is $30, and it can be accessed at https://tx.ag/NewPhaseOne. At the link page, enter “Add to Cart.” When a new page appears, press the “Add an Account” option located under the “Log In” bar and fill in the request.

In-person boot camp

Kimbrough said in-person boot camp sessions will cover the same introductory concepts as the online course, plus include a farm tour and hands-on training in:

— Farm and food safety.

— Business planning and management.

— Diversification and marketing strategies.

— Finance and risk management.

— Agriculture rehabilitation and vocational training for veterans.

— Land and natural resource management and conservation.

— Basic vegetable and row crop production.

— Basic livestock production.

— Alternative and value-added agriculture enterprises.

An in-person boot camp will be held Jan 9-13 in College Station.

The fee for the in-person boot camp will be $350, with a discount of $225 applied at checkout thanks to a U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture grant, making the total cost per participant $125. It will also include a free link to the Phase 1 online course.

Program phases

Phase 1 is part of the larger four-phase Battleground to Breaking Ground Certificate program that can be used to verify training hours in agriculture to enhance participant eligibility for agriculture-related funding sources.Successful completion of Phase 1 also increases the participant’s chances of submitting a successful application for a tuition waiver for the second and third phases of the BattleGround to Breaking Ground program.

“The Phase 1 online course is encouraged before applying to Phase 2 and 3 of the BattleGround to Breaking Ground program but not required,” Kimbrough said.

The second phase of the BattleGround to Breaking Ground program is the Business Planning Course, and the third phase is the Agriculture Production Course. The fourth and final phase relates to becoming a program mentor.

“The program utilizes a mix of online courses and hands-on training to provide education in agricultural business planning, business management, agricultural business funding, resources in agriculture, agricultural marketing and agricultural production,” Kimbrough said.

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