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Ground Work: Effective Strategies for Teaching Tractor Skills and Farm Mechanization Decision-Making

Ground Work  is a new professional development (train-the-trainer) program to prepare and support agricultural educators, farmers, and farm service providers to deliver farm mechanization and tractor education to beginning farmers, farm workers, and apprentices throughout the Northeast.

Who: We are seeking  technical assistance providers, agricultural educators and farmer-educators from the Northeast to participate. We anticipate that program participants will be diverse in experience, geography, and learner audience and will apply what they learn in a variety of ways – as lead instructors, program assistants, one-on-one coaches etc.

Where: On-line (5 sessions) and Essex Junction, Vermont (one day)

Dates: On-line sessions are January 23rd, February 13th, March 13th, April 10th, and May 29th.  The hands-on training is May 21st or 22nd (trainee choice).

Time: On-line sessions 11:00 – 12:00 / Hands-on days are full days.

Application Deadline: December 20th, 2013

Cost: Thanks to a grant from the Northeast SARE Professional Development Program, there is no tuition cost to participate. However, participants are expected to cover transportation expenses to attend the hands-on, in-person training day in Essex Junction, Vermont.  Lodging will be provided as needed.

On-line application:

For more Information: Read the Program Description or contact Kristen Mullins at or 802.656.2034.

Why: To succeed, farmers must understand the equipment needs of their enterprise, how these needs may change as the business grows, and how these needs will be met.  Yet, new farmers increasingly come from non-farming backgrounds and have limited experience with machinery.  In Vermont and other parts of the Northeast, there are limited opportunities to access tractor education that is a) geared to adult farmer operators and their employees and b) relevant to the kinds of diversified and small-scale farms that are emerging throughout the region.  Ground Work hopes to address this need by building trainer capacity throughout the region.