On Friday evening, November 15, at the Washington County Soil Conservation District awards banquet in Sulphur Springs, ARCD Project Director Lexy Close will be named the 2019 Educator of the Year for her work training beginning farmers in the region.
Her program, Field School, has just begun its 5th year. Over 150 students have taken the course which aims to teach new and beginning farmers about behind-the-scenes farm operations as well as the business, marketing, and financial aspects of running a farm business. Field School holds two sessions each year; the summer session is held on farms across the region, while the Winter Business Intensive is held in a classroom setting. The Winter Business Intensive is TAEP accredited which means that students who successfully complete it will receive two credits toward becoming eligible for the TAEP cost share program. The Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement Program (TAEP) allows eligible farmers to make larger investments in their operations than they would be able to on their own by reimbursing them for part of the cost.
This award marks the 2nd of Close’s projects to be awarded this year, and the 3rd award of the year for Appalachian RC&D. In February, Close’s Farmacy Fit project was awarded the Eat Smarter Initiative of the Year award from The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, and in March Appalachian RC&D was awarded first place in Excellence in Environmental Support at the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce’s Regional Business Excellence Awards.
Close is honored to have been chosen for this award, and looks forward to continuing to facilitate the education of more beginning farmers in our region.