Speakers announced for Beginning Farmer Webinar

Webinar series focuses on importance of business plans.

Grapes on the vine
Creating a business plan is an important part of managing a farm business.

The Funding Your Farm: Selling Your Story in a Business Plan will focus on how creating a business plan is an important part of managing a farm business. Each week, participants will learn about key information to include and how to begin drafting their own plans for their farm. The series will feature a host of presenters from both university and agricultural industry professionals.

Week One: Series Kickoff

The series kicks off Feb. 2, 2023, with an introduction of what to expect throughout the program and a basic overview of business plans. Introductions to these important topics will be provided by Jamie Rahrig and Melissa McKendree from Michigan State University. An industry panel will feature:

  • Alex Ball, Old City Acres
  • Mike Niesyto, GreenStone Farm Credit Services
  • David Russ, USDA Farm Service Agency

Hosted by Jamie Rahrig, Florencia Colella, and Melissa McKendree from Michigan State University, panelists will share their perspectives on how business plans benefit obtaining farm financing.

Week Two: Marketing

Week two will see participants learning how to assess market opportunities and develop a successful marketing strategy. From identifying your customers and competitors in a market to distinguishing your farm and its products, having a good strategy is your first step in the planning process. Featured presenters include:

  • Mariel Borgman, Michigan State University Extension
  • Curtis Mahnken, AgPlan & University of Minnesota

Week Three: Human Resources & Operations

After developing a marketing plan, understanding how to manage resources effectively is the next step in your business planning process. In week three, participants will focus on creating strategies around production, labor, and physical resources needs. Featured presenters are:

  • Kathryn Brandt, MSU Organic Farmer Training Program
  • Curtis Mahnken, AgPlan & University of Minnesota
  • Rachel Wood, GreenStone Farm Credit Services

Week Four: Financial Planning and Series Wrap-Up

In the final week, participants will focus on how to outline their farm’s financial situation. From identifying financial needs to evaluating the financial performance of the farm business. Featured presenters include:

  • Ann Allen, GreenStone Farm Credit Services
  • Florencia Colella, Michigan State University Extension
  • Annie Olds, Venture North Financial

The Funding Your Farm: Selling Your Story in a Business Plan series is free to anyone who registers. 

Click here to register

The program is offered through a joint partnership with Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, MSU Extension’s Beginning Farmers DEMaND Series, and GreenStone Farm Credit Services.

For more information, contact Jamie Rahrig, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems and Product Center at rahrigj1@msu.edu or Jon LaPorte, MSU Extension and DEMaND Series at laportej@msu.edu.

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