Beginning Farmers

Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship

Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship (BUFA)

BUFA is a season-long traning for new and aspiring farmers conducted in and around Portland, Oregon by OSU Extension Service and community partners.  BUFA provides three options for participation to train urban and small-scale farmers and community land stewards in vegetable production and farm business management.

  1. Option 1.  Market farming track (500+ hours training)
  2. Option 2.  Community farming track (200+ hours training)
  3. Option 3.  Field trip track (100+ hours training).

Are you interested in learning more about BUFA?  Please fill out our interest form.

BUFA open house

Saturday, November 1, from 10am to 12pm at the Learning Gardens Laboratory

(6801 SE 60th Ave Portland, OR 97206).



BUFA is a 7-month program that offers garden and urban-scale farming education to our next generation of farmers, non-profit garden managers, leaders in the local food justice movement and entrepreneurs interested in food production-based small business.  The program is intended to teach students basic skills and offer experiences that will introduce them to the field of small scale agriculture.  An important piece of the training is developing connections and relationships with the organizations, farmers, food justice workers, businesses, etc. that make up our local food system.  We want to help you explore local small-scale agriculture as potential career path to help transform our local food system.


How does BUFA work?

Through formal classes, hands-on training, field trips, direct marketing sales (Farmers Market and Community Supported Agriculture) and online learning resources, BUFA provides a fun and interactive educational experience.  Our focus on the accessibility and manageability of small-scale farming makes this the perfect training for the novice gardener/farmer who is interested in food production.  BUFA also includes a series of 6 workshops focusing on the business development side of farming.  This series is based on OSU’s established Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management Seminar Series.  While participating in BUFA, students get to connect with real, local farmers and hear them talk about the ups and downs of their businesses.  Students will also have the opportunity to visit may local farms and garden/agriculture based businesses to see how they really work.  These important connections, along with the practical growing knowledge, gives them the "foot in the door" that they need to step into the fields of food production, food justice work and urban-scale agriculture.

BUFA Content

The primary focus of BUFA is intensive vegetable production in urban and community settings.  That means we want to teach you how to grow food, producing as much as you possibly can in the smallest space possible.  We focus on using sustainable and organic methods.  You won't learn how to manage 1000 acres of corn and soybeans, but you will learn to grow vegetables and fruit that thrives in our climate and can directly feed the community in our local food system.  Our focus is on growing food appropriate to our climate and growing as much as possible in the small amount of space you have...from a 20'x20' community garden plot up to 1+ acres of hand-scale vegetable farm.  While we don't focus on animal agriculture, some of our field trips will also include examples of animal agriculture.

Planning and Record Keeping for a Better Growing Season


Planning and Record Keeping for a Better Growing Season

Looking to be more organized in 2014? Aiming to have an effective crop plan that sets the course for a successful season? Hoping to keep better farm records this year that could help you understand ways to make your farm more productive and more profitable?

Come to our all-day workshop to learn about how to use AgSquared’s online software toolkit to easily gather the information you need to better manage your farm and make both day-to-day and strategic farming decisions.

This event is $10/person. Lunch will be provided.

Date and Time: Thursday, March 27th, 10:00AM to 4:00PM

Location: Clackamas Community College, Oregon City, OR

** Click here to Register **


Drew Katz, AgSquared’s Director of User Support and Farmer Engagement, will train you in how to get started with AgSquared. In this class you will learn how to set up your AgSquared account, create a crop plan, manage your day to day schedule with AgSquared, and review your records for better decision making. You will also get to hear from an Oregon farmer currently using AgSquared on the farm. You do not need to have already created an AgSquared account to join this training - you will have the opportunity to create a free AgSquared account during the workshop.

Beginning Farms Programs

The Greenhorns’ Guide for Beginning Farmers - Greenhorns

Start 2 Farm - National Agricultural Library, USDA

Beginning Farmers - Cornell Small Farms Program

Beginning Farmer Center - Iowa State University

Beginning Farmer Resource Network of Maine - University of Maine

Missouri Beginning Farmers - University of Missouri

Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loans - USDA FSA

Beginning Farmers Guide - Farm Aid

Resources for Beginning Farmers - Land Stewardship Project

What can I do with my Small Farm?

What Can I Do With My Small Farm? Selecting an Enterprise for Small Acreages - Often, when people buy a small farm they simply want someone to tell them what they can "do" with it. As strange as it might seem, this isn't an easy questions to answer. Before making decisions, you should consider these major factors that interact with and influence each othe.

Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management Planning Book: Think It! Write It! -Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management is a workshop series that enhances the success of new farmers by helping participants think through biological, physical, financial, and family aspects of farm business. The workshops include classroom and field sessions, and topics follow a natural sequence, from planning through production to long-term management. As participants progress through the Growing Farms series, their ideas about farming and ranching as a lifestyle and business become more focused.

Small Farms Funding Resources - This guide contains information about issues to consider before starting a farming operation with links to full-text guides on how to start a farm business, and develop business and marketing plans. It also contains information about funding sources for beginning farmers, training, technical assistance contacts, organizations with resources and programs for beginning and experienced farmers, and more.

Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses - Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses brings the business planning process alive to help today's alternative and sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs transform farm-grown inspiration into profitable enterprises.Sample worksheets lend a practical perspective and illustrate how real farm families set goals, researched processing alternatives, determined potential markets, and evaluated financing options. Blank worksheets help the reader develop a detailed, lender-ready business plan or map out strategies to take advantage of new opportunities.

List of Alternative Crops & Enterprises for Small Farm Diversification--Alternative Farming Systems Information Center - This list of alternatives was compiled using AFSIC reference request files, the subject files in our office, as well as previously compiled lists, most notably "Innovative Farming Idea List," (1987) compiled by Nancy Grudens Schuck, Farming Alternatives Project, Cornell University and "Ideas for Alternative Agricultural Enterprises," (1996) put together by the Missouri Alternatives Center. This list is not comprehensive, but presents some of the more accessible innovations available to farmers.

North Willamette Valley Livestock Farm Tours

Small Farms Summer Livestock Series

Join us for any of four stand-alone workshops on beef, sheep, poultry processing and hogs. All workshops take place on-farm and focus on strategies to help small farms manage production and marketing risk to create viable and successful small farm livestock enterprises.

Raising Beef on Grass

Ralph Meyer Farm, Oregon City

Tuesday, June 19, 2012,                1pm-6pm

$30 per person or $45 for two per participants from the same farm


This on-farm workshop addresses management, production and marketing of grass-fed beef. Topics will include rotational grazing, pasture management, quality feed production, herd health, forage quality for finishing beef, and niche marketing. A class binder and refreshments are included in the cost of the program. Instructors: Ralph Meyer (), Nita Wilton (Graf Century Farm), and Gene Pirelli (OSU Extension Livestock and Forage Specialist). Presented in partnership with USDA RMA.

Pre-registration is required. For more information, contact Heidi Noordijk at (503) 678-1264 ext. 141 or




Raising and Marketing Healthy Sheep

SuDan Farm, Canby

Thursday, June 28 2012 2pm-7pm

$30 per person or $45 for two per participants from the same farm


Join Dan and Susie Wilson of SuDan Farms, Gene Pirelli of OSU Extension Service and Robert Dyk of USDA-APHIS in this day-long workshop focused on small-scale sheep production. Topics will include pasture management and rotational grazing, sheep nutritional requirements, Scrapie eradication in Oregon, small scale infrastructure, wool production and marketing for meat and fiber. Dinner and a class binder are included in the cost of the program. Presented in partnership with USDA RMA and Oregon Sheep Growers Association.

Pre-registration is required. For more information, contact Heidi Noordijk at (503) 678-1264 ext. 141 or


Processing Poultry – HB 2872 and the 1000 bird exemption

Deo Volente Farm, Mulino

Monday, July 16th, 2pm-7pm,

$60 per person or $90 for partners from the same farm sharing animals


This hands-on workshop addresses the new laws and regulations for farm direct slaughter and sales under Oregon HB 2872 (the 1000 bird exemption). The A to Z's of poultry processing, sanitation, pathogen management, and regulatory compliance will be covered as each participant processes a bird to take home. Pasture management and niche marketing will also be addressed. Dinner and a class binder are provided. Please bring work clothes, work gloves, and rubber boots.  Instructors: Sara, Scott and Andrew (Deo Volente Farm), Pete Sturman (OSU North Willamette Research and Extension Center) and Lauren Gwin (OSU Small Farms Program and Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network).

Presented in partnership with USDA RMA.

Pre-registration is required. For more information, contact Heidi Noordijk at (503) 678-1264 ext. 141 or


Integrating Pigs into a Diverse Small Farm Operation

Growing Seeds Farm, Corbett

Wednesday, August 22, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

$30 per person or $45 for two per participants from the same farm


Join Jessica and Fred Eppley-Henning of Growing Seeds Farm, Pete Sturman, Nick Andrews and Gene Pirelli with OSU extension to learn about raising healthy pigs on a diverse farm. Specific topics are coming soon.

Presented in partnership with USDA RMA.

Pre-registration is required. For more information, contact Heidi Noordijk at (503) 678-1264 ext. 141 or






Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship

See video

The Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship (BUFA) program is a partnership between Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service and Multnomah County designed to provide in-depth and comprehensive training in sustainable, small-scale, urban farming methods.

Through formal classes, hands-on training, field-trips, online learning, farmers' market sales and supervised apprenticeships, BUFA instruction will prepare students to produce market fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, cut flowers, and other value-added products using organic methods. Participants will also learn the knowledge and skills needed to design, install, and manage farm and community landscape infrastructure in urban and peri-urban settings.