Free online farm business management course offered in November 2022

Farm Money Matters: Farm Business Management is a unique online course consisting of eight self-paced modules and four producer Zoom meetings. At the end of the course, you will develop an action plan to apply concepts learned to your farm.

tractor in farm field with text that says Farm Money Matters

Are you a farm manager looking to learn more about farm business management and improve your understanding of farm finances? If so, please consider enrolling in our new course, Farm Money Matters: Farm Business Management, beginning this November.

The course, hosted by Michigan State University Extension and the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics (AFRE), consists of two main components: online self-paced modules and small group meetings with other producers and farm business management educators. At these group meetings you will apply the knowledge learned in the course modules through an interactive case study. At the end of the course, you will create an action plan detailing steps you will take over the next year to apply the concepts learned on your farm. Over the next year, you will have the opportunity to follow up with an educator in the course: Melissa McKendree, Florencia Colella and Roger Betz to check in on the goals you outlined. The MSU Farm Business Management educators can help you with creating a business plan, improving your farm financial records so you can use them as a source of information for decision making, conducting a farm financial analysis, preparing documents to meet with a lender and much more.

This initial offering of the course is open to 10 producers free of charge.

Course Details

Farm Money Matters: Farm Business Management consists of an introduction meeting, eight online modules that you take at your own pace, and four cohort meetings hosted on Zoom with farm business management educators and four other Michigan producers. Each online module takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete, and each cohort Zoom meeting will last up to 2 hours (with breaks).

The eight self-paced online modules are:

  1. Strategic Agricultural Business Management
  2. Basics of Record Keeping and Accounting
  3. Introduction to Financial Statements
  4. Business Analysis
  5. Ways of Keeping Records
  6. Enterprise and Partial Budgets
  7. Business Succession
  8. Bringing It All Together

An introduction meeting will take place on Friday, November 18 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. to help you get signed up on the online platform, called D2L, and answer any questions you may have.

There are two options for the Zoom small group (cohort) meetings.

  • Cohort A will meet on Tuesdays from 12 to 2 p.m. on November 29 (review of modules 1 and 2), January 3, 2023 (review of Modules 3 and 4), January 31 (review of Modules 5 and 6), and February 28 (review of modules 7 and 8).
  • Cohort B will meet on Fridays from 3 to 5 pm on December 2 (review of modules 1 and 2), January 6, 2023 (review of modules 3 and 4), February 3 (review of modules 5 and 6), and March 3 (review of modules 7 and 8).

Enrollment is limited to 5 participants in Cohort A and 5 participants in Cohort B. To express interest in participating, please fill out this survey:

Melissa McKendree, and Florencia Colella, will follow up with more course details and your enrollment confirmation. Please email Melissa or Florencia if you have any additional questions.

Future course offerings in both English and Spanish will be presented in the future.

This project is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center by USDA/NIFA award number 2018-70027-28586.

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