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Course Helps Ag Entrepreneurs Get Off to the Right Start

Burlington--Growing Places, a four-part course for aspiring farmers, will be offered through University of Vermont (UVM) Extension's New Farmer Program at three locations this October and again as an online course in early 2013.

The course, which is co-sponsored by the Women's Agricultural Network, is geared to individuals who are considering starting a farm, specialty food business or other agriculture-related enterprise. It is designed to help them better understand the realities of operating an agricultural business, so they can decide if agriculture is the right choice for them.

The in-person classes are scheduled for four consecutive Tuesdays beginning Oct. 9 and will run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. They will be held at the UVM Extension offices in Berlin, Brattleboro and Morrisville, with the help of distance technology and on-site instructors.

Participants will define goals for themselves and their potential business, identify and examine current resources and explore market research techniques to set up a customized marketing plan. In addition, they will learn about state and federal agricultural programs and organizations that provide assistance and support to farmers.

The course fee is $100 if received by Sept. 21, $135 until Oct. 3. Registrations received after the latter date will be charged a $25 late fee.

The registration deadline for the four-week online course, which begins in January, is Dec. 14 for the early discount. All registrations submitted after Dec. 28 will be assessed a $25 late fee.

Course information and online registration can be found at www.uvm.edu/newfarmer. Click on "Classes" then "Growing Places."

To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, contact Beth Holtzman at (802) 223-2389, ext. 204, or (866) 860-1382 (toll-free in Vermont) by Sept. 21 for the fall offering and by Dec.14 for the winter online classes. Financial assistance is available for qualified applicants.

In upcoming months the New Farmer Project will offer several additional courses of interest to beginning farmers including Building a Sustainable Business (December and January) and Introduction to Ag Financial Management  (February). To learn more about these courses and other educational opportunities, visit www.uvm.edu/newfarmer.

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