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Diversifying Family Farming Income Through the Rural Online Initiative

Written by: Caroline Hargraves, UDAF Communication Specialist


Utah is home to 32,495 producers, of whom 67% hold a primary occupation other than farming and the vast majority of whom reside in rural areas. The Rural Online Initiative is a program providing specialized remote work training to individuals for success in a rapidly changing economy. Remote work training and skill development allows families in rural communities to access job opportunities that would otherwise be limited. With the major uptick in businesses providing remote work opportunities, there’s never been a better time to consider expanding remote work skill sets.

“In most farming families, at least one person works a full time job in an occupation other than agriculture. The Rural Online Initiative provides the opportunity for farmers and ranchers to make additional income from the comfort of their own home by developing existing skills they may already use to sustain their agricultural operations.” — Linda Clark Gillmor, UDAF Director of Marketing and Economic Development


Featured are a few success stories from Rural Online Initiative trainees: 

After completing the Master Remote Work Professional certificate course, Laura Holmgren, who was raised in and married into a farming family in Box Elder county, found a job as a social media manager for USU Extension. She now works remotely while taking care of her daughter and contributing to their family farm. “I am incredibly grateful to be a member of the USU Extension team, and to do so remotely makes my momma heart happy. I love the ROI program, I thought the networking and tools were incredible.”



Orin Hutchings is another Rural Online Initiative graduate who grew up on a family farm in Apple Valley – a town of 700 people in Washington County, where they raised beef cattle and grew dryland watermelons and tended an apple orchard. One month after taking the Master Remote Work Professional certificate course he was hired as a digital marketing manager working remotely from his home in Iron County. “I loved this course and learned so much about how to function as a productive employee while working from my home. I am more confident with the skills I gained and learned all about how to use the tools I need to succeed in this new opportunity. I would recommend this course to anyone looking for more flexibility and balance in their work and life.” Currently, he attends SUU and has plans to someday return to Apple Valley to continue his farming heritage.


To learn more about the Rural Online Initiative program and get 50% off the Master Remote Work Professional Certificate with code “RW50” visit:


> Return to the May 2021 Cultivating Connections newsletter here.


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