Farmers have a new opportunity this fall to learn how to reach customers: The computer.
Foothills Connect, a nonprofit rural economic development program based in several Blue Ridge counties, is offering a program in personal computer skills aimed at farmers. The program, Farmers Adopting Computer Technology, is aimed at farmers, beekeepers, farm family members and those who want to be farmers.
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Many farmers in the Carolinas have started using the Internet to market crops and reach customers, sending regular e-mails listing conditions, harvest predictions and farmer market schedules. The FACT program is particularly aimed at helping farmers join in farmersfreshmarket.org, a Foothills Connect program that allows chefs to order directly from farms.
FACT is a 120-hour course created at N.C. A&T University. It will be taught by Tim Will, a former Peace Corps volunteer, at the Foothill Connect office in Rutherfordton, 146 N. Main St. It's also affiliated with Isothermal Community College. Classes will be held from 6-9 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays starting Sept. 8 until mid-October.
Will calls the program “a basic course for farmers for whom a ‘mouse' is often a corn crib pest.”
Enrollment is limited to eight students, and those who complete the program may qualify for a free computer set up with Microsoft software.
To enroll, call 828-288-1650 or 828-286-3636, extension 344.