When trying to develop their own businesses, farmers in Shanxi are increasingly aware of the importance of training in an era that features rapidly emerging technologies, techniques and operational models.
Chen Bingzheng is a resident in Datong's Jijiazhuang township. He is engaged in the farming of the day lily cash crop.
Now in his 60s, Chen believed he might not be able to use modern ways of marketing, like e-commerce and livestreaming.
But when seeing his neighbors receive orders through their mobile phones, he decided to try the process out for himself.
He applied for a training course at a local vocational school and learned how to conduct business online through e-commerce.
Several months later, Chen had mastered all the necessary skills for online sales. Using his smartphone camera and his strong Shanxi dialect, Chen is now getting more "likes" and orders from online buyers.
"Now my family can earn about 160,000 yuan ($24,760) a year from selling day lily flowers and other produce online," Chen said.
Also cashing in on vocational training are Zhang Shiyuan and Wang Yongfeng, two brothers in the city of Xinzhou.
They had been engaged in growing organic black corn for about a decade. Despite its high quality, the produce did not sell well or earn them much money because of its higher price.
"Buyers were not aware that the price is matched with its quality as organic food," Zhang Shiyuan said. "They just compared it with ordinary corns."
To solve this problem, the brothers became the pioneers in their village in learning e-commerce.
They began operating their online store in 2015, and their business began to grow once they used livestreaming to display the quality of their produce. They recorded and showed videos over the entire process of the crop's growth.
Known as the "corn brothers" among buyers, they now operate a large farm of 100 hectares.
In addition to e-commerce, training for modern farming technologies is becoming popular.
Hu Tianni, for instance, is the operator of a modern farm of 53 hectares in the county of Ruicheng.
After learning to operate various farming machines, Hu, 50, began to equip her farm with an intelligent irrigation system, a spraying drone and other machines.
"In the past, farming on 53 hectares of land required more than 100 laborers," Hu said. "Now a farm of this size is operated by my family with the help of modern equipment."
Liu Zhijie, chief of the Shanxi Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said the province will continue its efforts to promote vocational training for farmers.
He revealed that the Shanxi government will invest more than 400 million yuan in vocational training for about 250,000 farmers this year.