OFTP 2018 Application
The Organic Farmer Training Program (OFTP) is selective. For the 2018 class we will accept 15-17 participants. We are looking for candidates who are committed to eight months of intensive training in organic farming. The program will be taught through a mix of lectures, readings, written assignments, hands-on demonstrations, hands-on activities, farm walks, and visits to other Michigan farms. The OFTP is designed to give participants a solid foundation in the principles, practices, management, business planning and hard skills needed to operate an organic farm.

All applicants must be ready to devote themselves to an intensive and focused learning experience. We aim to create a healthy and vibrant learning community where students will learn from one another as much as they will learn from the land and from the program instructors. To this end, we look to recruit a diverse cohort of students who bring a wide variety of skills, experience, goals and passions and who can engage and contribute positively to our working and learning community. The program is not appropriate for those seeking an initial exposure or inquiry into organic farming; it is intended for participants who know they want to commit to work in local and organic food production or education.

In your application we want to learn about YOU. We want to hear about how you have come to be interested in and committed to organic farming and food production as your career path. Your written answers are the most important aspect of the application. This application will represent you – you should communicate what you want us to know about your experience and why you are committed to a career in local sustainable and organic food production. Previous work on a farm is highly encouraged and applicants who have worked on a farm will be favored. Previous relevant education, life and work experience that have prepared you to operate your own farming business, production oriented educational program, or work as a manager on a farm are a plus.

The OFTP is a serious commitment! In addition to a full day of class each Monday, you will need 2 to 6+ hours per week for readings and assignments. Many of the assignments are related to writing a Farm Business Plan. Participants are encouraged to write a Farm Business Plan, even if you are not 100% certain where or when the farm will emerge. You can also write a plan for an existing non-profit or farm if the farm or organization is willing to work with you.

We also want you to consider this program as much as we are considering you. Please feel free to ask questions to help you decide if this is the right program for you. We highly recommend that you schedule a visit to the Student Organic Farm meet us and to see our farm in action!

PLEASE FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW and answer all application questions directly on this form.

-2 professional letters of recommendation (not friends or family)
-$50 application fee (fee waived through September 1st, 2017, checks made out to Michigan State University).

Emailed documents can be sent to msufarm@msu.edu, subject line "OFTP Application Materials"

Katie Brandt
Organic Farmer Training Program
MSU Student Organic Farm
Plant & Soil Science Building
1066 Bogue St., Room A288
East Lansing, MI 48824

If you would like more information on the program or to arrange a visit, please contact msufarm@msu.edu and include Organic Farmer Training Program in the subject line or call the farm at 517-230-7987.

Thank you!

~Duration: 33 weeks of instruction, March 19th-November 19th
~Class Time: Mondays 9:00-5:00
~Program Fee: $3,600 plus required books
~Location: MSU Student Organic Farm (East Lansing, Michigan)
~Scholarships Available!
~The early application deadline is September 1, 2017 (fee waived).
~Admissions are rolling – we will continue to accept applications until the cohort is filled!

First Name:
Last Name:
Street Address
City, State & Zip Code
Phone Number (cell preferred):
Email Address:
Date of Birth
Highest Level of Education Completed:
Race/Ethnicity (optional)
Why do you want to participate in the Organic Farmer Training Program?
Describe your recent educational and work experience.
Describe your previous experiences with farming, growing and/or selling food.
What are your future professional and career goals in the field of organic, local and sustainable food production? How will you utilize the knowledge, skills and experience you will gain in the program in achieving your future goals?
Describe your experiences working and learning in community. How would you be a good member of our learning community?
Describe your experience and aptitude with being highly organized, dedicated, and focused on maximizing your learning and skill-development in pursuit of a life or career goal.
I will be emailing or mailing in my resume, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application fee.
Are you interested in applying for scholarships?
Are you interested in employment at the Student Organic Farm during the program?
The Organic Farmer Training Program is a commitment that requires a full day per week to attend class plus 2 to 6+ hours per week for readings & assignments. Describe how you will manage the OFTP alongside other work and personal obligations.
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