Course Helps Aspiring Farmers and Ranchers in “Cultivating Success”

EVERETT, Wash. — The rising market demand for locally produced food is increasing opportunities for current and would-be farmers and ranchers. But to succeed farmers must be able to adapt quickly, making decisions about crops, farming practices and marketing.

Washington State University Snohomish County Extension is offering a 12-week course to provide small-acreage farmers and ranchers with an overview of the production and marketing options available today, and the unique advantages available to small-scale producers.

“Sustainable Small-Acreage Farming and Ranching,” the first course in the award-winning “Cultivating Success” course series, will be offered on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9 pm beginning Sept. 21 at the Snohomish County Extension office at 600 128th Street S.E. in Everett.

Class size is limited and pre-registration is required. The cost for the full twelve-week course is $250 per farm or couple. Download the registration form at or contact Karie Christensen,, 425-357-6039. For more information on the course, contact Andrew Corbin at or 425-357-6012.

Holly Thompson will be the course facilitator. She is a Stanwood Angus beef rancher and WSU graduate in animal science and agriculture economics. Well-versed in farm economics and current market trends, Thompson also facilitates “Agricultural Entrepreneurship,” the farm business planning course in the series, and worked for Northwest Farm Credit Services as a loan officer.

The weekly presentations will include local growers, organizations, and university specialists with expertise in direct marketing, value-added processing, production planning, agronomy, livestock production, and more. In addition, two Saturday field trips will visit nearby farms to learn about different styles of successful small farm enterprises.

Farmer Eric Fritch of Chinook Farms near Snohomish took the course in 2009 and says he was able to put what he learned to work immediately.

“The time spent in the Cultivating Success course helped me to focus on my objectives and put my ideas into a practical business model. That model continues to evolve but I know we are on the right path,” says Fritch. “Let’s just say it’s helped me thresh the grain from the chaff.”