‘RU Ready to Farm?’ workshop slated for Feb. 7
ATLANTIC CITY — Younger people wanting to farm or people in mid-career looking into farming as a second career can attend the “RU Ready to Farm” workshop at the upcoming New Jersey Vegetable Growers’ Association show at Harrah’s Casino and Hotel.
The annual meeting also coincides with an annual meeting of the New Jersey State Boards of Agriculture.
Middlesex County Agricultural Extension Agent Bill Hlubik is involved in presenting “RU Ready to Farm?” an all-day seminar, slated for Thursday, Feb. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“It’s an idea we started in Middlesex County but we have since run it elsewhere,” Hlubik said.
“I have other agents helping me out, Megan Muehlbauer of Hunterdon County and Ray Samulis, who recently retired from Burlington County, are among the people we have participating,” he said.
Although Hlubik and others have run these seminars for a half dozen years, this is the first time it’s being offered in Atlantic City.
Past one-day seminars have been held at the Middlesex County Earth Center in South Brunswick and at the Rutgers Eco-Complex in Burlington County.
“It’s designed to give people an overview of what they’re going to be expected to do once they begin farming, so we provide some resources. I always recommend people who really want to get into this go out and work with a farmer for two or three seasons to see what’s involved, “ he said. “You really have to be out there in different types of weather and working all day. It’s difficult work, but it can be really enjoyable for some people.”
“We talk about regulatory issues you need to be aware of, and SADC will be there to talk about land availability in the state and how do you hook up with an organic or conventional farmer,” he said, adding “we have a panel of farmers who are going to be there to answer questions.”
Admission to the one-day seminar is $100 but discounts are available to undergraduate students, students involved in FFA and those who are part of the RU Master Gardeners’ program.
“We have a number of people who’ve been through the seminar who now have their own farms or they’re actively working with established farmers,” Hlubik said.
“There is growing interest in farming in general,” he said, “and we absolutely need a next generation of farmers. There are farmers with land who don’t have a next generation of farmers to take over,” Hlubik said.
“Even though people think it’s a simple process, it’s really not, you have to navigate through the weather and changes, so there’s really a lot of different skill sets and creativity that are involved in farming.”
“It requires a lot of skill and you have to figure out how you’re going to do some things differently, how you’re going to capture markets,” he said.
Young and mid-career potential farmers need to realize “there are a lot of resources out there for them, and we as county Ag extension agents can’t do it for them, but we can help them.”
Those interested can e-mail Hlubik at firstname.lastname@example.org for a discount code.
For the program agenda and to sign up for the event, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ru-ready-to-farm-beginner-farmer-workshop-nj-agriculture-convention-tickets-53164344987.
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