New Jersey is known as the “Garden State” and agriculture is the state’s third largest industry (after pharmaceuticals and tourism); but will the state have enough farmers in the future?

To help address that issue, Rutgers has started a course that’s open to the public called “RU Ready To Farm? Getting Rooted In The Garden State.” The goal is to train the next generation of farmers so that farmland can stay in the hands of those who work it.

Brendan Pearsall, one of the program’s coordinators, told CBS 2 New York that the average age of a New Jersey farmer is approaching 60 years old.

That’s why Rutgers started the Beginner Farming Training Program; according to the program’s website:

New Jersey needs enthusiastic, motivated new and beginner farmers, but farming isn’t an easy profession to break into. To be ready to farm, you need to be able to do more than just grow food and fiber. You will need to learn to be a businessperson, a marketer, and a planner. You will need to develop the skills to repair your own equipment, to fix an engine, or to build a hen house.

The program provides resources to aspiring farmers like mentorship programs with established New Jersey farmers and connections to the state Farm Bureau and Department of Agriculture. The school received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to start the program.

If you’re interested in keeping the “Garden” in “Garden State”, you can find out more about the program and upcoming information sessions here.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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