Educational program for small and beginning farmers offered

By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor

While the number of young persons getting into farming has been on the decline for more than a generation, a new program developed by Riverland Community College of Austin will hopefully help curb that trend.

The Farm Business Management for Small & Beginning Farmers is currently being offered to residents in Southeastern Minnesota, including the Caledonia area. And the new program has a number of Caledonia ties as well.

Eric Deters, a Caledonia Area High School graduate and the son of Duane and Deloris Deters, is the program director. Caledonia Area High School ag instructor Brad Harguth is one of two program facilitators.

“Right now, we’re just getting this off the ground,” Harguth said last week. “We will be offering the program in Caledonia and also through the Kenyon-Wanamingo School District. If things work out, the program will be expanded to other areas in Southeast Minnesota.”

The program is a two-year comprehensive farm business management education program. The curriculum will be centered on farm management, utilizing a technological approach to reach populations in rural Minnesota.

Students will gain knowledge in financial management, business planning and enterprise management.

Students will meet monthly at Caledonia Area High School for an interactive TV session with ag and financial experts.

“The I-TV portion of the course will provide students the direct contact with experts in the field,” Harguth said. “With the technology we now have, we can bring the top educators right into our classroom.”

In addition to qualified instructors, industry experts can also provide current information on topics relevant to the young farmers.

The program will also include an online course which students can participate in on their own time.

Persons completing the course will earn two certificate credit hours that will satisfy the training requirements for FSA loans.

For more information on this program, persons should either contact the Caledonia Community Education office or Brad Harguth at the Caledonia Area High School.