Scholarships Available for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers to Attend Organic Field Crop Training

The National Center for Appropriate Technology, along with nationally recognized organic leaders, will offer an Organic Academy Road Show (OARS) session in Billings, Montana, on December 6 and 7, 2022. Beginning farmers and ranchers in the northern Great Plains will have the opportunity to explore regenerative, certified organic production systems for grains, oilseeds, and pulses.

Thirty scholarships for beginning farmers and ranchers are available for up $200 each to defray costs of attending. There is no registration fee, but registration is required by November 21, 2022. Online registration is available at ATTRA.NCAT.ORG/EVENTS.

This event will host intensive training sessions and one-on-one technical assistance for beginning farmers and ranchers. Topics will include transitioning to organic production, an introduction to organic system planning, soil health, and more. Session leaders will include NCAT Sustainable Agriculture specialists and experienced Montana organic farmers and ranchers. The event schedule and speaker list can be found here.

In addition, attendees will be able to interact with civic leaders, county Extension agents, and staff from USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service during a public event on Dec. 6 from 7-9 p.m. The Montana Organic Association will host its annual conference at the same location following the OARS session. Registration is separate for that event at MOA Conference.

“This series of educational opportunities is not just another farming training,” said Doug Crabtree and Anna Jones-Crabtree of Vilicus Farms in Montana.It is about leveraging training to further build the network of beginning organic producers who are farming and ranching at a scale that will have a tremendous impact on land stewardship across the Northern Great Plains.” 

The December event will be the first of 10 OARS sessions in the northern Great Plains states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming over the next two years.

The OARS sessions are part of the three-year federal Beginning Farmers and Rancher Development Program, Preparing a Resilient Future, in partnership with the Montana Organic Association, Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society, Center for Rural Affairs, the Intertribal Agriculture Council, Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, International Organic Inspectors Association, North Dakota State, and University of Wyoming.

The new project targets medium to large-scale field crop and livestock operations, unlike most programs focused on beginning farmers and ranchers. This project was selected in a national competition under the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program funded through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY has been helping people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources since 1976. Headquartered in Butte, Montana, NCAT has six regional offices in Arkansas, California, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Montana, and Texas. Learn more and become a friend of NCAT at NCAT.ORG.