It is rare for a farm to be an accidental success; having a written document laying out the farm's goals, marketing strategies, financial projections, and operation is essential to demonstrate the feasibility of the farmer's plans. A business plan is also a must-have for anyone seeking loans or grants to help fund their farm's development.
This fall, you can get personal guidance in writing your farm business plan by taking an online course offered by the Cornell Small Farms Program. BF 202: Planning for Sustainability - Writing Your Business Plan is a fast-paced course covering one section of the business plan each week. Through weekly webinars, you'll hear from farmers, business management educators, and bankers about what makes a good business plan. You'll get personal feedback on each section of your business plan as you complete the weekly homework. The course begins Thursday, Oct. 4 and runs for six weeks through Nov. 8, with evening webinars every Thursday. The cost is $200. Registration closes when the course fills up or by Sept. 26, whichever happens first, so don't delay or you might miss this opportunity.
Students who took the course last fall have used their completed business plans to obtain farm mortgages, equipment purchase loans, and operating loans.
"I basically knew very little prior to taking this course. But now I feel confident about how to write a business plan, how to research the areas that are projections/pro-forma statements, and the components of each section," one student said.
If you've felt intimidated by the process of writing a business plan or if you plan to seek outside funding for your farm, sign up now for this unique opportunity to join a virtual community that will help you write your farm business plan this fall. For more details visit nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-202-planning-for-sustainability/
This course is only one of many offered over the fall, winter and spring by the Cornell Small Farms Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension. For the full course menu, visit nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses.