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.
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.