Farming Fundamentals geared toward educating new and beginning farmers

Aug 31, 2021


Not everyone who farms started out on a farm. Some are one, two or even three generations removed from life on the land, but they aspire to live a rural life and work a farm to support themselves and their family. To address this growing trend in Tennessee, University of Tennessee Extension has expanded the role of Charley Martinez, an assistant professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Since January 2020, Martinez has been serving UT Extension as a statewide farm and financial specialist. You may have seen or heard him on the department’s YouTube channel, especially in the Crops, Cattle & Charley videos that were a popular outreach effort in the height of the pandemic in 2020. Martinez’s new role includes new and beginning farmer programming. Martinez already has some beginning farmer initiatives underway in collaboration with area farm management specialists and the UT Extension MANAGE program.   

“We recognize the growing need for programs targeting new and beginning farmers, and we are pleased that Dr. Martinez has agreed to provide leadership in this area,” says Rob Holland, interim assistant dean of UT Extension agricultural and natural resources programming.

“Dr. Martinez’s background in farm and financial management and fresh approach to Extension education programming makes him an ideal person to connect with new and beginning farmers,” adds Chris Clark, professor and head of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

As part of his role Martinez will be spearheading a new UT Extension effort called UT Farming Fundamentals, which is expected to include a series of helpful publications and workshops geared to educate those new to the farming community. Until those resources are available, however, Martinez encourages new and beginning farmers to reach out to him for information and to make connections with others interested in collaborating with new farmers and ranchers.

“In the first year of the Master Farm Manager Program, class surveys showed that 27 percent of the participants had five years or less of farming experience. The objective of this program is to help beginning producers build a strong foundation for their agricultural enterprise. Topics will cover foundational principles of farm and financial management, production and other topics specific for beginning farmers,” says Martinez. “I’m excited for the opportunity to work with our agents and specialists to develop this program for our producers in Tennessee.”
Martinez can be reached by email at cmart113@tennessee.edu.

For more content like this, check out the latest issue of The Cooperator.
 

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