New paper scans programs for training a new generation of North American farmers

June 2018

Farmers play a critical role in food systems, rural economies, ecological sustainability, and the social fabric of communities. As farmers age, new farmers are needed to maintain the stability of the agricultural sector. Without skilled individuals willing and able to take up farming as a career, the future of domestic food production is in jeopardy. This has a range of environmental, social, and economic implications.

In a new JAFSCD viewpoint article, authors Laura Schreiner, Charles Z. Levkoe, and Theresa Schumilas present initial findings from an exploratory community-campus partnership research study that aimed to explore, document, and categorize existing and emergent models of practical farmer training in North America.

KEY FINDINGS
After reviewing practical farmer training programs across North America, the authors propose a typology of five categories:

  1. Informal farm internship associations
  2. Centralized internship programs
  3. Private, nonprofit course-based programs
  4. Formal academic programs
  5. Independent and self-directed learning

This typology can serve as a springboard to support future research—and to better support the development of new practical farmer training programs. Continue reading “New paper scans programs for training a new generation of North American farmers”