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Printed on 2/22/2018

Farm Operation

31-080-4 Technical Diploma (TD) 27 Credits Financial Aid Eligible Location*: Appleton

*Some general education courses may be available at multiple locations.

Do you want to be prepared to operate a farm some day? This program is designed for beginning farmers, farm technicians or herd managers. You’ll gain the skills needed to make sound business management decisions, care for livestock and crops, manage data, select appropriate equipment and maintain the needed equipment. Your training focuses on day-to-day farm activities and introduces you to the most up-to-date practices in production agriculture. This program runs from late fall to early spring to fit around planting and harvest.


*Course list for reference only. Current students please refer to your individualized program plan or see your advisor.

Occupational Specific (27 Credits)

Course Title
Course Number
Prior Learning Credit
Eligibility Options
Computers, Farm
Designed to allow students to operate and explore the utilization of computers and computer software for production agriculture application. Computer use and the latest in agricultural software will be emphasized.
Introduction to Precision Agriculture
Provides the students with an introduction to common Precision Agriculture technologies used in crop production today. Topics include satellite technology, hardware, data collection, guidance methods and yield monitors. The challenges and benefits of adopting Precision Agriculture technologies on the farm will also be discussed.
Crop Management Principles
Covers the basic principles and management techniques for corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and small grains grown on Wisconsin farms. Includes information on field preparation, pest management, seed selection, soil quality, and in-season management of specific crops.
Basic Shop Principles
Introduces basic shop & equipment safety, common shop practices, tool identification, and use of operator's manuals. Basic hydraulic principles will also be introduced.
Soil Principles and Fertilization
Acquaints the student with the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil in relation to fertility and good soil management. The students will sample soils on their farms and identify fertility needs from the soils test report. Nutrient management will be discussed.
Tractor Maintenance Overview
Provides to the student basic diesel engine system operation and maintenance skills and knowledge to maintain the fuel, cooling and lubrication systems on tractors and other agricultural machinery.
Farm Management Overview
Focuses on management skills and concepts that beginning producers need to continue farming in today's changing technology. Emphasis is given in establishing and recording farm business records, business and family goals. Entire farming operation is assessed and plans are developed for farm management decisions.
Farm Facilities
Studies the various types of dairy / livestock facilities, storage and materials handling systems on farms. The student will look at planning, design, cost and management of their livestock or cash crop operation.
Livestock Overview
Covers the importance of livestock to our society while emphasizing breed identification, safety, livestock handling, anatomy and physiology, genetics, animal breeding systems and reproduction. Care and management of youngstock will be compared across the livestock industries.
Farm Data Management
Stresses that using technology to keep accurate records is vital for the farm of the future. This course will build upon the technologies discussed in the Introduction to Precision Agriculture course. Topics include the collection, cleanup, and analysis of Precision Agriculture. Data management and privacy will also be covered.
Forage Management
Introduces basic management concepts of Wisconsin forage crops. Course will focus on production practices and management for desired quality and yield of forage legumes and grasses.
Animal Nutrition, Basic
Acquaints the student with the nutrients essential for livestock growth, production and reproduction. The anatomy and physiology of digestion and absorption are discussed for single stomach and ruminant animals, with the emphasis on dairy cattle.
Agricultural Building Design & Construction
Acquaints the student with planning, design and construction skills for agriculture facilities. This course focuses on the selection of building materials, cost and construction of farm buildings.
Farm Business Management, Analysis, Finance
A study of business management principles and practices including financing, business analysis, budgeting, capital acquisition, land acquisition and types of business organizations will be discussed in relation to the student's farming operation. Basic farm business analysis will be completed for the individual's farm. Short- and long-range plans will be established for the operation.
Livestock Ration Balancing
Introduces the student to the mechanics of balancing livestock rations using the National Research Council tables. They will be shown how computers can be used to develop rations. The makeup and functions of the nutrients essential for livestock will be discussed in the preparation of dairy rations for the home herd. A cost analysis of all rations will be completed by students for dairy herds and other livestock enterprises.
Farm Machinery Maintenance, Planting Equip.
Deals with the various aspects of farm machinery maintenance, including the selection of components and their replacement. Students will maintain and troubleshoot farm machinery, electrical systems, such as monitors, special lighting, and electrical solenoids and controls. Planting equipment will be adjusted, calibrated and selected.
Herbicide and Pesticide Application
Enables the students to become familiar with the equipment used to handle and apply herbicides, pesticides and fertilizer. Both calibration and safety with all types of farm sprayers and applicators are emphasized. Proper chemical selection for crops and basic weed ID will be emphasized.
Forage & Grain Harvesting Equipment
Provides students with a comprehensive knowledge of forage and grain harvesting equipment. Emphasis is on design, operation, adjustments and maintenance of the equipment. Farm machinery management and operational expenses will also be stressed.
Advanced Tractor Maintenance
Provides the students with knowledge and skills needed to maintain and service the electrical systems associated with farm machinery. Students will perform basic service on the different electrical systems.
Prereq: Tractor Maintenance Overview (31080355)
Nutrient Management Principles
Enables the student to develop, write and manage a nutrient management plan for their farm operation or a selected Wisconsin farm. Components of a plan, laws affecting a plan and completion of a plan are emphasized.
Agricultural Marketing
Covers and analyze the various marketing channels for farm products in this one-credit class. The buying and selling of feed components as well as the marketing of excess dairy cattle and young stock will be discussed. Agricultural organizations which play a part in the agricultural marketing system and acquaint the student with the future's market.
Dairy Management and Records
Covers the basic dairy management principles used in today’s modern dairies. Enables students to analyze dairy records to make management decisions. Aspects of mating and selecting sires to improve various aspects of a dairy cow will be discussed.
Cash Crop Principles
Enables students to develop management and production strategies for corn, soybeans, and related grain crops of Wisconsin.
Small Engines
Trains students on the basics of small engines; including small engine maintenance and repair, lubrication, and troubleshooting.
Dairy Herd Health and Reproduction
Covers the reproductive systems of the dairy animal. The class will cover various herd health problems including mastitis, milk fever and similar common dairy cattle problems. A herd health management and reproductive management program will be developed for the home farm.
Welding Repair and Maintenance
Emphasizes the use of M.I.G., arc and the oxyacetylene welding equipment in the repair and maintenance of farm machinery. The student will learn the basics of each of the systems. The expansion and contraction of metals, removal of bearings, and use of special rods and equipment will be emphasized.
Advanced Precision Agriculture
Covers advanced technologies utilized in precision agriculture. Topics include the following: variable rate control of seed, chemicals, and fertilizer; advanced planter monitors; automatic section control; and remote crop health sensing technologies. The economics of adopting these technologies will also be discussed.

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