ProFarmer Training Program at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub
The ProFarmer Training Program is an educational initiative of the Hudson Valley Farm Hub, a 1,255-acre not-for-profit farm in Hurley, New York. Through demonstration, research, and farmer training, they provide education and raise awareness about agricultural practices that are locally rooted, equitable, ecologically regenerative, and economically viable. The ProFarmer Program is a 2-5 year management training program for those with farming experience who aspire to obtain farm management positions or own their own farm enterprises in the Hudson Valley. This is a full-time salaried position, including full benefits, with an annual salary in the low $30,000 range.
Through this practical, hands-on curriculum grounded in the work of the Farm Hub, ProFarmer trainees will attain agricultural and mechanical technical skills, knowledge of the Hudson Valley food system, strong relationships with colleagues on and off the farm, communication and business skills, and deep experience with equitable and ecological farming practices. Each ProFarmer trainee selected for admission into the program will be hired as a year-round employee of the Farm Hub, receiving a full-time salary with full benefits and the option of free, modest housing in the Farm Hub residences.
The Farm: The Farm Hub is in its third year as a nonprofit farm on land used by previous owners as a private sweet corn operation. This land use transition extends beyond soil and cropping methods to every part of the farm’s operation. In 2016, their field crops include 70 acres of field corn, 200 acres of soybeans, and 450 acres of oats. In addition, 120 acres of land are dedicated to a Small Grains Field Trial led by Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County and managed by the Farm Hub staff. Their diversified vegetable production is made up of 32 acres of various crops bound for their farm stand as well as for wholesalers who market produce in the Hudson Valley. Over the last three years, the Farm Hub has engaged partners such as Conservation Design Forum and Hawthorne Valley’s Farmscape Ecology Program to map and monitor the flora and fauna of the land. They have conducted extensive soil health tests and assessed various parts of the farm for production capacity and optimal use. Their intent is to create a farmscape that supports and sustains crop production by providing habitat for the many different forms of life on the farm, whereby their wild areas (wetlands, forest, meadow, shrub-land) function in synergy with the cultural areas (croplands). ProFarmer trainees will be part of shaping the farm’s ecological and social environment, including systems and procedures, the demonstration of farming practices, and the ways in which teaching and learning happen on the farm.
Their Approach: The Farm Hub aims to be an exemplary learning, working, and living environment. The ProFarmer trainees will have the opportunity to co-create the culture and educational approach of this evolving initiative. Their program combines hands-on experience with intellectual, social, and emotional engagement. Trainees are actively encouraged to pose questions, solve problems, make decisions, and assess their results through compassionate dialogue. Open dialogue is supported by the creation of safe spaces to nurture relationships with self, others, and the outside world, and to allow for authentic self-expression and individualized learning.
The Farm Hub is an initiative of the Local Economies Project (LEP). LEP’s mission is to build an equitable and ecologically resilient food system in the Hudson Valley – one that meets the economic and social needs of our communities while working in partnership with natural systems. Towards this mission, LEP develops programs, provides grant funding, and acts as a convener in the regional food and farming economy. To find out more, visit the LEP at www.localeconomiesproject.org and the Hudson Valley Farm Hub at www.hvfarmhub.org.
They are now accepting applications for their 2017 cohort! Join them for an Open House event on August 6, 2016. For more information, please visit: http://hvfarmhub.org/programs/farmer-training/