Farm business management course for farmers of color registration now open

Learning series to support more farmers of color with education on the importance and process of keeping good financial records and understanding historical inequities in agriculture and financial systems.

A Black woman holding a watering can. She is wearing a denim jacket and a cowboy hat, and is surrounded by plants covered in a protection net. A few more people watering can be seen in the background.

Registration for the Farm Business Management for the Global Majority Series has opened and will be filled on a first come first serve basis up to 50 participants. If registration is full, you may join the course wait list. Registration is also open to past years’ participants.

The Farm Business Management for the Global Majority Series (formerly Farm Business Recordkeeping for the Global Majority) is an online course created specifically by and for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, new immigrant/new American and all farmers of color. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its collaborators affirm and recognize that people of the global majority (currently about 85% of the world's population) have been historically oppressed in the U.S., particularly through agricultural policies and practices.

The goal of this series is for farmers of color to develop skills to manage and grow their operations by working collectively to break down the many systemic barriers that keep them from farming or from participating in farmer support programs.

This year, we are offering a 10-week course between Jan. 17 and March 25, 2024. Sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 1 – 2:30 p.m., with additional opportunities for support and peer-to-peer learning on Mondays from 1 – 2 p.m. and on online message boards.

All modules will be recorded and uploaded to a private YouTube channel for later viewing and to accommodate needs for self-paced course access. Participants will be allowed to attend live sessions when available or watch recorded sessions. Live meetings will be held via Zoom.

The course covers:

  • The history of racism and social activism in agriculture
  • Strategic farm planning
  • Business succession
  • Cooperatives
  • Racism, equity and trust with the USDA and State of Michigan
  • Basics of record keeping and accounting
  • Benchmarking your farm business and understanding your cost of production
  • Region-specific, race and culture-specific marketing
  • Tools of lending and funding preparation and understanding the reality of equity and inclusion of federal, state and local funding for farms
  • Crop and disaster assistance

This course is free to eligible participants. All who complete at least 50% of the course and participate in its evaluation will receive a stipend of $500 and can have the cost of their farm’s recordkeeping software covered. Registrants will also be provided with a toolkit of hard copy and virtual resource materials, and access to a network of trusted service and technical assistance providers.

This course is for farm and food businesses that are either managed by people of the global majority or that source primarily from global majority operated farm businesses. All farm sizes, urban to rural, with various ownership structures—owned, leased, nonprofit or cooperatively operated—are welcome.

If you fall outside of the global majority eligibility criterion, please reach out to Florencia Colella or email to be connected with alternate education opportunities. Michigan State University Extension (MSU Extension) also offers many great resources that are open to all, including bookkeeping and financial analysis tools. Many of these resources can be found at MSU Extension Farm Management. You may also contact your local farm business management educator if you need help finding the right resources for your situation.

This program, now in its third year, is funded through a co-operative agreement with the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) under award number RMA23CPT0013618. It is co-developed through a collaboration between Detroit Black Community Food Sovereignty Network (Shakara Tyler), Keep Growing Detroit (Rosebud Bear Schneider), Michigan Food & Farming Systems (Jen Silveri), the Michigan State University Center for Regional Systems (Keesa V. Johnson, MDes and Jamie Rahrig, MPH, RDN) and Michigan State University Extension (Florencia Colella).

Additional leaders who have contributed to past and current course delivery include Tepfirah Rusdan (City of Detroit, formally Keep Growing Detroit), Maria Graziani (USDA RMA, formerly Center for Regional Systems), Kelly McLeland (MSU Extension, formerly Edible Flint), Alita Kelly (Jade Rabbit, formerly R&D Innovations), Micah Hutchinson (Genesee Conservation District/Michigan On-Farm Produce Safety) and Michigan State University Extension educators. We are thankful to the course’s past and present partners and participants who have been instrumental in creating and sustaining this course.

Increase your expertise in keeping farm records, improve your knowledge of past and current inequities and barriers in farming, and enhance your skills in decision-making and navigating farm and food systems so that all farms and farmers can be successful!

If you have registration questions, please contact Lakwiita with the Michigan Food & Farming Systems at or 231-680-0554. If you have course content questions, contact Keesa V. Johnson at or Shakara Tyler at We look forward to an uplifting and empowering Farm Business Management for the Global Majority Series in 2024!

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