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Qualification -Certificate In Alternative Farming

Course CodeVSS103
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours
QualificationCertificate

ALTERNATIVE FARMING - HOME STUDY ONLINE COURSE

START LOW IMPACT, ENVIRONMENTAL PRODUCTION NOW

Agriculture has seen massive changes in most developed countries over recent decades due to changes in global economics, technology and environmental concerns. This course provides an foundation for dealing with those changes, whether on your own farm, or in a broader sense.

This course has two main core modules: sustainable agriculture and organic farming, the remaining four modules can be selected from a further 16 modules making this course highly customisable.

Course Content

To obtain the certificate you must successfully complete assignments and pass exams in six modules as follows:

 

Modules

Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification -Certificate In Alternative Farming .
 Sustainable Agriculture BAG215
 Organic Agriculture and Farming BAG305
 
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 4 of the following 24 modules.
 Alternative Energy VSS102
 Herb Culture BHT114
 Beef Cattle Management BAG206
 Calf Rearing BAG207
 Cut Flower Production BHT221
 Dairy Cattle Management BAG205
 Fish Farming & Aquaculture BAG211
 Goat Husbandry BAG223
 Hydroponics I BHT224
 Hydroponics II - Hydroponic Management BHT213
 Nut Production BHT219
 Permaculture Systems BHT201
 Pig Husbandry BAG209
 Plant Breeding BHT236
 Poultry Husbandry BAG208
 Protected Plant Production BHT223
 Sheep Husbandry BAG210
 Trees For Rehabilitation (Reafforestation) BHT205
 Viticulture BHT220
 Agricultural Marketing BAG304
 Aquaponic Farming BHT319
 Bush Tucker Plants: Growing and Using BHT328
 Organic Plant Culture BHT302
 Warm Climate Nuts BHT308
 

Note that each module in the Qualification -Certificate In Alternative Farming is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


More on the Core Modules -
 

Organic Farming and Agriculture

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Organic Farming
    • scope
    • nature
    • history
    • types of organic farming
  2. Integrated Farm Management Systems
    • rotation design
    • cash crops
    • managing waste
    • permaculture
    • polyculture
    • biodynamics etc
  3. Organic Management Issues
    • certification
    • environmental concerns
    • marketing
    • PR
  4. Organic Soil Management and Crop Nutrition
    • composting
    • mulching
    • green manuring
    • cover crops
    • organic fertilisers
  5. Weed Management
    • selecting appropriate techniques of control
    • weed identification
  6. Pest and Disease Management
    • Animals
    • Plants
  7. Livestock Management I
    • Beef
    • Dairy
    • Sheep
    • Pigs
  8. Livestock Management II
    • Poultry
    • Goats
    • Alpacas
    • Ostriches
    • Deer
  9. Pasture
    • Pasture Varieties
    • Management Principles
    • Intensive systems
    • nitrogen fixation
    • correct seed mix
    • risks with legumes
  10. Crops
    • Wheat
    • Plant Fibre
    • Hay and Silage
    • Mung Beans
    • Sesame seed, etc

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Discuss the scope and nature of organic farming in today’s world.
  • Select appropriate organic management systems for different organic farms.
  • Understand the environmental, economic and political issues concerning organic farming.
  • Explain the role of living organisms and decomposing organic matter in creating and maintaining an appropriate soil condition for successful organic farming.
  • Contrive and apply appropriate weed management practices for an organic farm.
  • Select and apply appropriate pest and disease management practices for both animal and plant production on an organic farm
  • Design an appropriate system for organic production of cattle, sheep and pigs.
  • Design an appropriate system for organic production of poultry and other miscellaneous animals.
  • Design an appropriate system for organic pasture management.
  • Explain the broad-acre organic production of a grain or legume crop.

What You Will Do

  • Investigate Organic industry such as, Certifying Organisations, Producers or organic farming groups in your locality or region
  • Determine allowable inputs to an organic farm certifying in your area
  • Discuss how an organic farm requires more labour than a conventional farm
  • Visit an organic farm, either a real visit or virtual visit if that is not possible
  • Prepare a plan for an organic farm.
  • Describe the conversion process for one of the organic farms
  • Investigate organic market potential
  • Make compost
  • Prepare a diagram of a healthy soil food web
  • Prepare a weed collection of reviews and either pressings, photos or drawings
  • Determine appropriate weed control within allowable organic farming limits.
  • Describe the life cycle of three animal parasites
  • Describe habitat requirements of various predatory insects
  • Survey one or more farms regarding animal production systems
  • How can the animals above be integrated into a vegetable or fruit production system
  • Determine organic solutions to different farming problems
  • Investigate different pasture management systems.
 

Sustainable Agriculture

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Sustainable ways of farming
    • Whole farm planning
    • Land Management programs
    • Sustainable ways of farming
    • Natural farming
    • Organic farming
    • Permaculture
    • No Dig techniques
    • Biodynamics
  2. Soils
    • Growing media
    • Major types of soil problems
    • Soil structural decline
    • Erosion
    • Salinity
    • Acidification
    • Soil improvements
    • Phytotoxicity
    • Adding organic matter to soils
    • Cultivation techniques
    • Conservation tillage
    • Plant nutrition
    • Soil life
    • Cover crops
  3. Water
    • Types of water storage
    • Livestock water requirements
    • Water problems
    • Water quality
    • Reed beds
    • Water saving measures
    • Recycling
    • Swales and keylines
    • Irrigation systems
  4. Land Care
    • Weed Management
    • Preventative measures
    • Tree management
    • Timber lots/plantations
    • Wind breaks
    • Wildlife corridors
    • Wildlife habitats
    • Pest and diseases
  5. Financial Sustainability
    • Economic principles
    • Developing a Farm Business Plan
    • Financial plan
    • Controlling growth
    • Value adding
    • Enterprise mix
    • Ecotourism
  6. Broad Management Strategies
    • Toward better planning
    • Land care or land management
    • New enterprises
    • Broad management categories
    • Marketing
    • Personal welfare
    • Plan drawing of farm
    • Looking at risk
    • Quality systems
  7. Plant Enterprises
    • Crop management
    • Hydroponic fodder
    • Hay
    • Considering new crops
    • Nuts
    • Organic farming
    • Agro-forestry
    • Hydroponics
    • Herbs
  8. Animal Enterprises
    • Deer
    • Ostriches
    • Emus
    • Alpacas
    • llama
    • Goats
    • Aquaculture
    • Wool and meat production
    • Horses

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Understand the broad possibilities for improving sustainability on farms.
  • Understand how to avoid serious degradation of soils on a farm through sustainable management.
  • Understand the broad possibilities for improving sustainability on farms.
  • Understand how to avoid too serious degradation of soils on a farm through water management.
  • Understand Economic Rules that apply to a farm Enterprise.
  • Discuss crop management techniques for sustainability.
  • Discuss minimising degradation through planning and management.
  • Evaluate the financial viability and potential of animal enterprises.

What You Will Do

  • Investigate what is being done for improving agricultural sustainability in your country or region.
  • Contact different organisations or farmers and find out what you can about attitudes & resources available to assist with improving sustainability in your chosen area/Country/region.
  • Investigate whether an organic certification scheme operates in your country, and if so, find out what is involved currently in attaining that certification for a farm.
  • Obtain either literature or advice relating to the management to soil degradation in your locality.
  • Identify the most important issues that farmers need to address in a region within approximately 100 km( or 50 miles )of your home; in order to remain financially viable over the next two decades
  • Distinguish between hydroponics, permaculture, biodynamics and certified organic farming.
  • Identify a farm situation where it might be appropriate to convert to either permaculture, biodynamics or certified organic system.
  • What is being done to improve sustainability of agriculture in the region, country or state of your choice.
  • Obtain information from your local government department or irrigation supply company.
  • Find out what the local water quality is like and how it was measured.
  • Explain how you can test your local water supply for contaminants. What contaminants were found? eg. Bacteria, heavy metals, silt etc.
  • Outline how can these contaminants be removed from the local water supply eg filtration, chemicals, etc.
  • Identify cost effective means by which contamination can be prevented.
  • Identify types of water catchment in your local area. eg dams ,stream ,creeks ,etc.
  • Find out what types of conservation are being practiced in your local area.
  • Outline methods of pest control being practiced in your area
  • Describe methods of weed control used in your area.
  • Identify and describe any natural control methods being used in your area.
  • Research tourism activities are available in your local area.
  • Investigate planning and advisory services in your local area.
  • Investigate existing animal enterprises in your local area and the economic impact.
 
 


Meet some of our academics

Diana Cole B.A. (Hons), Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C. In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild construction qualifications and an NPTC pesticide spraying licence (PA1/PA6). Diana runs her own landscape gardening business (Arbella Gardens). Active in many organisations including the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
Adriana Fraser Businesswoman, writer, teacher, consultant, horticulturist and sustainable living expert for more than 30 years. Adriana has worked with ACS for over 30 years. She has contributed to dozens of books(including Australia's national Grass Roots Magazine) since the early 1980's and continues to be actively involved as a contributor to Home Grown magazine and other publications. Adriana has a Cert.Child Care., Adv.Cert.App.Mgt., Cert in Assessment and Training., Cert.Hort., Adv.Dip.Hort.
Gavin ColeB.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer. He was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up his own landscaping firm. He spent three years working in our Gold Coast office, as a tutor and writer for Your Backyard (gardening magazine) which we produced monthly for a Sydney punlisher between 1999 and 2003. Since then, Gavin has contributed regularly to many magazines, co authored several gardening books and is currently one of the "garden experts" writing regularly for the "green living" magazine "Home Grown".
Bob JamesHorticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt, PDC


Check out our eBooks

Farm ManagementThis ebook covers tips to manage your own farm, or work for someone else. It also covers the farm site, production systems, managing livestock, pasture, crops, water, equipment, farm structures, finance, marketing, staff management, farm planning and more. 15 chapters, 129 pages
Food PreservingIdeal for students of nutrition, self sufficiency or horticulture, the food preservation ebook is a great introduction to preserving food.
Growing and Knowing NutsDiscover the many different varieties of nuts that you many not have ever heard of. Learn unique ways of using nuts and cooking with nuts.
Working with AnimalsIf you enjoy interacting with animals, are interested in biological science, or are passionate about wildlife, pets or farming; you may thrive in the type of jobs outlined in this book. Get to know more about the industries and the occupations that you could do. The Working with Animals ebook is a comprehensive catalogue to inspire you in your career in working with animals!