While it could take a million dollar investment or more to get into some types of commodity farming, some people are finding new ways to get into farming on a much smaller scale. Piedmont Technical College in Saluda, S.C., may be able to help. The school has developed an educational "mini-farm" series for those looking to get into small farming in a "big way".
PTC's workshops will focus on small farmers who are – or who want to be - growing vegetables, raising livestock or managing tree forests. The classes will be offered in a series of five modules that meet once a week for six weeks. Cost is $100 per module. In addition, a 'bonus' class on business planning and management will be presented.
The classes will be held at the PTC Saluda County Center, 702 Batesburg Highway (Hwy 178) in Saluda, South Carolina.
The workshop modules are:
• Module 1: growing fruits and vegetables for farmers' markets, Feb. 6-March 13, 2007. Both natural and organic production of crops will be discussed during this series.
• Module 2: livestock management, March 20-Apr. 24, 2007. Information on beef cattle, goats, sheep, horses and swine will be offered, including feeding and health issues.
• Module 3: forest management, May 8-June 5, 2007. This will include information on growing both pine and hardwood trees.
• Module 4: wildlife management, Aug. 7-Sept. 18, 2007. This workshop will cover whitetail deer, wild turkey, small game, waterfowl, other wildlife and fish-pond management.
•Module 5: horticulture, Sept. 25-Oct. 30. Discussions will cover soils, plant nutrition, greenhouse, nursery production and pesticides.
On Nov. 6, 2007, a one-evening session on farm management will conclude the series.
To learn more about the workshops call (864) 941-8400 or, toll free, 1-800-868-5528, extension 8781. You can find out additional information by visiting www.ptc.edu/ag on the Internet.