OFTP 2021 Application
The MSU Organic Farmer Training Program (OFTP) teaches aspiring farmers in a 50/50 mix of field and classroom activities every Monday at the MSU Student Organic Farm. In the field, everyone participates in hands-on activities, farm walks and equipment demonstrations. In the classroom, we focus on small group activities, full group discussions, guest speakers and participant presentations. You will also visit 20+ Michigan farms! Outside of class, video lectures, readings and practical assignments, like writing a Farm Business Plan will connect learning themes from the class to YOUR farm goals. The OFTP is a vibrant, diverse and positive learning community where students learn from each other and share their unique skills, experience and goals.
The OFTP typically only accepts 23 participants per year. Strong applicants meet 3 criteria:
--Hands-on farming experience
--Plans to start or manage a farm or educational farm project in the future
--Ability to contribute to a positive learning community
However, we take into account your full life experience and relevant skills that contribute to success in farming, such as marketing or business experience, mechanical or building skills, relevant education, etc. The program is not appropriate for initial exposure to organic farming, but we are glad to recommend a farm in your area to work or volunteer to strengthen your application.
~March 15th-November 15th (NO CLASS May 31, July 5 or September 6)
~Mondays 9am-5pm @ the MSU Student Organic Farm in East Lansing, MI
~$3,900 plus required books (scholarships of $500 to $2,000 available)
Full class day each Monday
+ 3 - 10 hours per week for assignments, video lectures and readings
+ Weekend trip to Traverse City farms (June 19 - 21)
+ Time working or volunteering on a farm
-application form (below)
-transcripts (most recent/relevant college, high school, etc.)
-2 professional letters of recommendation (not friends or family)
-Farm visit (contact us for other options if you cannot visit due to location or COVID-19)
-OPTIONAL-Scholarship application & financial statement if applying for a scholarship
1. Email scans/photos of documents & questions:
, subject line "OFTP Application"
2. Mail to:
MSU Student Organic Farm
Plant & Soil Science Building
1066 Bogue St., Room A288
East Lansing, MI 48824
NOTE: University mail is slow. Emailing scans/photos of documents is recommended if you have internet access.
~Rolling Admissions - we accept applications until the cohort is filled!
(subject line "OFTP")
517-230-7987 (voice mails checked weekly, email will receive quicker response)
~Please feel free to ask questions to help you decide if this is the right program for you.
City, State & Zip Code
Phone Number (cell preferred):
Date of Birth
Preferred Gender Pronouns (He/him/his, She/her/hers, They/them/theirs, etc.):
Highest Level of Education Completed:
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 and letters of recommendation.
Are you interested in applying for scholarships? (please note MSU scholarships in 2021 are unavailable, but check yes for info on other scholarships)
Yes. I will complete the online scholarship application and mail financial documents to the MSU Office of Financial Aid. Link to the scholarship form:
and financial need document:
The Organic Farmer Training Program is a commitment that requires a full day per week to attend class plus 3 to 10 hours per week for video lectures, assignments & readings. Describe how you will manage the OFTP alongside other work and personal obligations.
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