To apply for the Organic Farmer Training Program you will need the following:
- OFTP application form
- Your resume or CV
- 2 letters of recommendation (employers, colleagues, farmers you’ve worked or volunteered for, farm customers, etc)
- Visit the Farm or Meet online (contact us to schedule a time)
- OPTIONAL - Detroit Farmer Scholarship application and financial need form for farmers from Detroit/Hamtramck/Highland Park
Email scans/photos of documents & questions to email@example.com
We are still accepting applications!
Scholarship deadline is November 15
Other applications are accepted on a rolling basis until early February or when the cohort is full.
The 2023 program takes place on Mondays from 9am-5pm from February 19th-November 4th (NO CLASS Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Labor Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day) There is one weekend trip to Chicago (Saturday through Monday, July 20-22. You can see the full schedule .
How much does the program cost?
Program fees for 2024 are $3,900 plus the cost of books and materials (~$200).
What are the scholarship options?
- Detroit Farmer Scholarship for people farming, gardening or living in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park
- Greenstone Cultivate Growth Grant – $500/$1,000 grants for beginning farmers who want to attend OFTP, conferences, etc. or get professional services. It is $500 for anyone or $1,000 for Greenstone customers/members. The application is simple, they tend to fund most who apply and then they write an article about you and your farm if you're funded.
- Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund - Up to $5,000 for farm equipment, supplies or education - https://farmvetco.org/fvfellowship/
- National Young Farmers Coalition Young Farmer Grants for farm or education $5,000 https://www.youngfarmers.org/youngfarmergrants/
- Michigan SARE Travel Scholarships$500 for travel to in-state and out-of-state conferences and classes https://www.canr.msu.edu/misare/michigan-sare-travel-scholarship
- Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP) - up to $200 in USDA assistance for educational programs for certified organic farmers or farmers transitioning to organic – This USDA assistance should be available for anyone who qualifies
- CCOF Future Organic Farmer Grant - $5,000 for Vocational and Higher Ed Students – apply between mid-March and mid-April. Very competitive.
How do I pay for the OFTP?
- Americorps Education Awards
- Most 529 plans
- Some MET plans
- Michigan Works! PATH program (unemployment training)
- Card payments: https://commerce.cashnet.com/msu_3843?&itemcode=3843-oftp
- Please ask about other payment options
Do I get credit for the program? Will I be considered an MSU student?
Program participants do not get college credit for completing the OFTP. You will receive a Certificate from the Michigan State University Student Organic Farm, Department of Horticulture, and Center for Regional Food Systems upon completion of the program. Program participants are not technically enrolled at MSU. You can access the libraries, campus dining halls, fitness facilities, computer labs.
Occasionally, a current student will choose to have the OFTP count as 3 credits of Independent Study with Katie Brandt or another professor. You would pay for both the OFTP and the college credits through MSU or through your college or university.
Can I use GI Bill funds or Veterans Benefits to pay for the OFTP?
Historically, GI Bill Funds and Veterans Benefits could not be used to pay for the OFTP. However, there have been some changes and may be options depending on the type of benefits you are attempting to use. Post 9-11 GI Bill Benefits (Ch. 33 benefits), Montgomery GI Bill Benefits (Ch. 30 benefits) or Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits (Ch. 31 benefits) may offer some options. Also, the Farmer Veteran Coalition’s fellowship fund awards up to $5,000 to veterans working in or transitioning to careers in agriculture, which may be used for OFTP.
What kind of work are the graduates of the program doing?
Graduates land in a variety of farming-related jobs after the program, such as managing an existing farm's CSA or production or starting their own urban or rural farm or working in the non-profit food and farming sector. To read more about what our farmers are doing now, check out our OFTP Graduates page.