Farming has been gaining increasing popularity in the Hualien area over the past three years. The Hualien District Agricultural Research and Extension Station’s school for farmers provides specialized agricultural classes, with a significant number of people drawn to register for classes at the school. The rate of matriculation this year for classes is only between approximately 20 and 30 percent, giving many people the impression that it is actually harder than getting accepted by a college.
Station director Huang Peng says that Hualien County is an agriculture-oriented county. In recent years there has been an influx of people moving to Hualien from big cities, Huang says, adding that many of them are quite interested in farming and planting. The station opened the farming school to help nurture these fledgling farmers’ skills when it comes to horticulture and simple field operations. People from cities have unexpectedly shown a greater demand for the classes than people in rural areas. Most of the students sign up on the Internet, with classes usually filling up almost immediately after enrollment begins.
Many people living in rural areas along the east coast are not that familiar with the Internet, which Huang says is why enrollment deadlines are often missed. For this reason and out of consideration for local farmers or young people who sincerely want to return to their hometown to take up farming, the station is willing to provide special enrollment privileges, giving professional farmers the opportunity to participate in these classes. A lottery system will be used if too many people enroll for classes.
Photo: Yu Tai-lang, Taipei Times
Classes continually being offered this year include rudimentary horticulture and farming classes, and a beginner organic farming class. At the advanced level there are courses on the maintenance and testing of agricultural machinery, organic vegetable culture management, pests insects and smother crops in organic culture, applied fertilizing management, special organic agricultural processing management, and applied branding and marketing for agricultural products. Advanced courses also include a strategic marketing class for agriculture.
Besides offering classes at the station, they are also working with National Hualien Vocational High School of Agriculture, borrowing teachers and equipment, which gives an obvious boost to the overall quality of the professional knowledge and educational experience offered at the school, and increases people’s incentive to enroll.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)
Photo: Yu Tai-lang, Liberty Times
1. fledgling adj.
剛開始的；無經驗的 (gang1 kai1 shi3 de5; wu2 jing1 yan4 de5)
例: The fledgling startup went bankrupt in its second year.
2. rudimentary adj.
基本的；初步的 (ji1 ben3 de5; chu1 bu4 de5)
例: The research team grew a rudimentary liver from stem cells.
3. incentive n.
誘因；獎勵 (you4 yin1; jiang3 li4)
例: Most incentive program participants prefer cash to non-cash rewards.
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