INDIANAPOLIS — Helping farmers understand the animal agriculture industry and make informed decisions about livestock management is the goal of Ivy Tech’s new online certificate program.

Developed in partnership with the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council, this 21-week course can give anyone looking to add livestock, poultry or aquaculture to their operation the tools and knowledge they need.

“ISA is always interested in ways to help farmers learn about diversifying their operations to bring the next generation back to the farm,” said Carl Kissell, chairman of ISA’s demand committee. “This new program offers farmers an opportunity to increase their knowledge of animal agriculture and see how they might incorporate livestock into their operation.”

The program covers topics aimed at educating farmers who are looking into adding livestock or aquaculture production, including how to develop a business plan. The program also is designed for farmers who want their employees to gain more knowledge on the best practices in the livestock industry.

“The content is designed to be immediately useful for beginning a livestock, poultry, or aquaculture business or for increasing your value as an employee in such a business,” said Matt John, Ivy Tech’s agriculture program chair.

The program also focuses on helping animal agriculture farmers create and maintain robust operations.

“Livestock is the biggest user of soybeans, and aquaculture is a growing market,” Kissell said. “Our organization is interested in doing things that promote the use of soybeans, and we’re looking for ways we can help livestock operations improve and offer them resources so they’re better equipped.”

There will be two courses offered throughout the year and participants will be able to earn three credit hours within Ivy Tech’s agriculture program. The registration deadline for the fall course is Sept. 12.

Applicants can register through Ivy Tech’s website at www.ivytech.edu/corporatecollege/agriculture.

Applicants are encouraged to visit ISA’s website — www.indianasoybean.com/livestock — to learn about six scholarships the organizations are offering to help cover the registration cost.