Diversified Agriculture


Instructor: Matt Dragon
mdragon@orangesouthwest.org
802-728-9595 ext. 410

The Diversified Agriculture program introduces students to career and education opportunities by highlighting our region’s rapidly growing farm and agriculture-related economy.  Students engage by focusing on plant, soil, and animal sciences through both classroom and experiential learning. With an on-site market garden, remote field campus, heated greenhouse, and high tunnel, students master the skills and techniques required for growing and harvesting vegetables year-round.

They also acquire technical skills during field experiences at local farms, and from on-site visiting instructors.  Students are trained in safe tractor operation as well as welding and blacksmithing in the program’s shop facilities. In the classroom, they also learn the essentials of farm business management, the importance of marketing, and successful strategies for selling produce and value-added products to the community. Throughout the program, students will use scientific and project-based methods to gain a thorough understanding of the opportunities, challenges, rewards and skills  involved in the local agriculture economy.

While covering a full curriculum of content specific to this trade, students will be trained and assessed in accordance with Proficiency Based Graduation Requirements (PBGRs). For more information on Proficiency Based Learning, visit the VT Agency of Education’s website at: education.vermont.gov

Career opportunities include:
Ag Equipment Operator
Ag Inspector
Agronomist
Artificial Insemination Tech
Meat and Cheese production
Conservation Scientist
Farm / Dairy Herd Manager
Food Systems & Distribution
Greenhouse Manager
Horticulturist
Land Manager
Landscape Designer
Veterinarian Technician
Welder

Average salaries in the agricultural industry:
Farm Manager - $50,200
Ag Inspector - $37,900
Forester - $58,200
Conservation Scientist - $61,000
Ag Equipment Operator - $33,900
Agronomist - $59,000

Community Partners / Employers:
Advanced Welding Institute                
4H
Ayers Brook Goat Dairy                         
Vermont Creamery
Biedler Family Farm                                
Luna Bleu Farm
Future Farmers of America UVM
UVM Extension Service                         
VT Technical College

College Credit Opportunities:
Dual Enrollment courses using free vouchers at Randolph Technical Career Center:
ACC 1001  Office Accounting I
BUS 1010  Introduction to Business
ENG 1061  English Composition
Dual Enrollment courses using free vouchers at Vermont Technical College campus:
AGR 1050  Livestock Production
AGR 1011  Agricultural Techniques I    
LAH 1050  Introduction to Soils

Industry Credentials:
Tractor safety
OSHA 10
First aid & CPR
Game of Logging 1 & 2

Competitions:
Vermont Envirothon
Soils Competition
Vermont National Guard Welding Challenge
FFA Dairy Foods Competition

Check out our recent work with Vermont Farm to Plate, and don't forget to click on the Career Profiles Project at the bottom of the page! And while you're at it, check out a few Farmer Profiles by clicking on the pdf in the documents box to the left, and learn more about what it takes to be a farmer in today's changing world.

Interests and Attitudes:
Students should be interested in careers in diversified agriculture, local food production, sustainable farm practices, renewable energy production, alternative vehicle fuels, welding and fabrication, innovative welding, and waste management. They should have a desire to study the science and skills associated with mechanics, welding and fabrication, and electrical systems; and a commitment to participate in an OSHA 10-hour job safety training program.