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Conference Name Cultivating Success- Growing Opportunities for Sustainable Small Farmers in WA and ID

Kristy Ott


Cultivating Success, a collaboration between Washington State University, University of Idaho, and non-profit Rural Roots, consists of semester-long courses offered through over 20 Extension offices and college campuses in Washington and Idaho. The goal of the program is to create and implement new educational programs that will increase the number and foster the long-term success of small sustainable farmers and ranchers in Washington and Idaho. Experienced farmers, community resource people, and university specialists are brought together with students in the classroom and in the field. From 2000 until present, over $2 million in funds have been generated to support the Cultivating Success Program allowing 1592 students, including 132 Latino and Hmong farmers, to participate in Cultivating Success courses. The introductory course, Sustainable Small Farming and Ranching, provides beginning and existing farmers with the planning and decision-making tools to develop a whole-farm plan for an economically and environmentally successful small acreage enterprise. A second course, Agricultural Entrepreneurship, focuses on farm business planning and the reduction of financial risks. Students gain knowledge of the business planning process, financial management techniques, and successful marketing strategies. Over 200 farm business plans have been developed as a result of students taking this course. Other courses include but are not limited to Organic Gardening and Farming, Ecological Soils Management, World Agriculture Systems and Field Analysis of Sustainable Food Systems. Ninety-eight percent of students surveyed have rated the courses effective in potentially increasing the number and success of small acreage farmers.