The Northeast Beginning Farmer Project at Cornell University is offering an online course in writing a farm business plan for beginning farmers. The classes will take place at 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays Oct. 5-Nov. 9.
This course is geared for new farmers, as well as those expanding or transitioning from one farm enterprise to another. Minimum requirements to enroll in this class include identifying the type of farm you want, some short-term and longer-term farm business goals, and the geographic area or state where you intend to farm. Students should have at least some first-hand experience with farming, including personal research into the type of farm you will operate. Upon completing this course, students will have a full business plan in a form ready to be implemented on the farm. The business plan may be used to guide you in decision-making in running the farm business. Additionally, the business plan will be in a form ready to submit to a banker, private investor or grantor, in the event you are seeking outside funding. The bulk of the course happens on your own time, including readings and homework assignments. Weekly webinars will allow students to learn from outside presenters, ask questions, and collaborate with other participants and the instructor to address your farm issues in real time. Farm Service Agency (FSA) borrower training credit is available upon request. This means that taking this online course may help you qualify for low-interest beginning farmer loans through the FSA, if you meet other eligibility requirements. For more information, visit the go online: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=fmlp&topic=bfl. Rebecca Schuelke Staehr co-owns Cayuga Pumpkin Barn in Cayuga County, NY, and formerly worked for the NY Farm Viability Institute. Erica Frenay is a project coordinator with the Cornell Small Farms Program and co-owns Shelterbelt Farm, In Tompkins County, NY.