A family walking in a green field toward a farm

Farm Operation

Technical Diploma | Financial Aid-Eligible

28 Credits | 1 Year

Ashland*, New Richmond*, Rice Lake*

Outreach Center: Balsam Lake*

*Combination of Hybrid and On Site instruction

Career Cluster: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

No matter the size of the farm, there is always something new in agriculture. Students in this program will learn about new technology in the classroom and how that can be applied to their operation in the on-farm component. This program has something for everyone who is interested in production agriculture.  


Program Overview

Through classroom and in-the-field instruction, you'll gain skills in livestock management and nutrition, crop and soil management, commodities and marketing, emerging trends in agriculture and farm records and analysis. This program is designed to provide you with the critical thinking skills necessary for profitable decision making. 

Program Outcomes

Farm Operation graduates will be able to:

  • Utilize agronomic resources for optimal farm production
  • Evaluate livestock management plans
  • Plan for operation and maintenance of farm facilities and equipment
  • Create farm business plans
  • Apply marketing principles to agricultural enterprises

The instructors in this program sift through the present research and bring information that can be directly applied to your farm. The classroom setting has an environment of camaraderie that encourages students to share their experiences with different management practices, seed varieties and feeding trials.  

Students looking at different feed samples

Share ideas and network with fellow farmers. 

Farm equipment in a field from an aerial viewpoint

Practical, on-farm application. 

A student analyzing the reproductive parts on a cow simulator

Flexible scheduling.  


Farm Operation courses are offered On Site in Rice Lake and Hybrid instruction at Ashland, Balsam Lake and New Richmond. 

  • Evening course will be available for individuals needing to complete continuing education requirements for FSA loans.
  • Labs will be on Fridays at either the Rice Lake campus or On-Farm (at regional farms and test plots).

Career Pathways

Short-term pathway certificates are available if you wish to ladder your progress through the program within your own timeline rather than through a nine-month school calendar. Pathway certificates in Crop Production, Livestock Production and Agricultural Business Fundamentals. 

Practical & Applicable Lessons

The lessons of this program are designed to be applied directly to the production agricultural operation. The intent of each lesson is to either improve quality of life, strengthen farm profitability or streamline management. 


Conveniently take Farm Operation courses in a hybrid model, allowing for flexibility with On Site and Online instruction.


The Farm Operation program specifically covers: Soil, Crop, and Livestock management with Livestock Nutrition, Commodities, Emerging Trends in Agriculture, On the Farm 1 and 2, and Farm Records and Analysis.  

Explore the Curriculum

Featured Farm Operation Courses

| 4 CR
The Livestock Nutrition course will instruct the student in the following areas: anatomy and physiology of livestock; nutrient requirements for calves, heifers, and cows; ration balancing for calves, heifers, lactating cows, and dry cows; determine livestock feed needs; evaluate by-product feeds and feed additives; low input livestock feeding; metabolic disorders; and current issues in agriculture. Individualized instruction will be held at the student's on-the-job work location. The class also involves credit for on-the-job experience.
| 4 CR
This course will help the student learn many items involved with running a modern farm. These skills include but are not limited to record keeping, selecting proper insurance for the farm, analyzing financial performance, identifying credit needs and sources, planning for crops, and planning for the feeding of livestock.
| 4 CR
Soil Management is important to the productivity and profitability of a farmer. The farmer is a steward of the land and an environmentalist. The farmer must take care of the soil or he will not be a farmer for long! The student in this class will learn how to prepare a land use plan, collect and interpret soil samples results, develop a plan for fertilizer use on crops, develop a plan for storage and use of manure, analyze new farm issues and practices to determine future use, evaluate tillage equipment and methods, and to practice farm and environmental safety.

Farm Operation

As a Farm Operation student at Northwood Tech, you can earn credentials each step of the way! 

Download the Career Pathway map

You can take this first and get a credential.

Pathway Certificate
9 Credits/Less than one year
Potential Careers
Field Technician, Field Applicators, Custom Operators, Agricultural Equipment Operator
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Pathway Certificate
9 Credits/Less than one year
Potential Careers
Farm Laborers, Feeder, Animal/Livestock Handler
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This is the program you're looking at.

Technical Diploma
28 Credits total/One Year
Potential Careers
CSA Owner, Organic Farmer, Farm Owner, Farm Manager/Operator, Farm/Field Crop Manager, Livestock Farmer, Breeder, Farm Worker, Dairy Laborer, Dairy Herdsperson
Range of Yearly Salary
$25,998-$37,437 annually
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Continue your education to obtain a bachelor's degree.




Admissions and Tuition

Northwood Tech has a simple admission process that can be completed in one visit. To start the process, simply fill out an application form along with a $30 application fee. After you’ve successfully submitted your application, your next step is to schedule an admissions meeting with a Northwood Tech counselor to discuss your goals and expectations. That’s it!

Tuition and Fees

Northwood Tech breaks down the cost of education, so you'll have a good idea of how much your education will cost.

Learn More About Paying for College



Estimated Total Program Costs 2021-22*

Farm Operation

28 Credits | 1 Year


*Tuition is an estimate and does not include any miscellaneous fees for various courses, tools, books, supplies or uniforms. Program book costs are in addition to tuition and fees and vary depending on course selection and where the books are purchased or rented. 

After the Northwood Tech Farm Operation Program

Upon completion of the program, you will obtain certificates in Crop Production, Livestock Production and Agricultural Business Fundamentals and a technical diploma in Farm Operation. 

Student studying at a computer

Transfer Options

After you complete your Farm Operation technical diploma at Northwood Tech, you can transfer to another college to continue your education and earn your bachelor's degree.

View Transfer Options

Career Outlooks

Northwood Tech's graduates experience success. Learn more about the types of careers you can get after graduation.

View Career Options

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Choose a campus to view contact information, or for general assistance, please contact us.

Rice Lake Admissions Contact

Tia Dietz

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 5220


Ashland Admissions Contact

Jennifer Bednarik

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 3195


New Richmond Admissions Contact

Jodi Saliny

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 4339


Superior Admissions Contact

Mary Glad

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 6243


Take the Next Step

Are you ready to experience success? Northwood Tech staff are standing by to support you in reaching your educational and career goals, so do it. Take the leap.