EXTENSION IMPACT: Strengthening Vermont's Family Farms
- By Dennis Kauppila
Farms ARE small businesses and a critical part of the community fabric in rural Vermont.
Those entering the farming business are often younger, and have new families, debt load, sometimes an off-farm job and less financial flexibility due to a volatile and unforgiving marketplace. Fluctuating factors such as historically low milk prices combined with historically high production costs for energy and feed are challenging the agricultural community.
Through the efforts of UVM Extension and the Vermont Farm Viability Program, and with the support of UVM Extension’s Yvon Lanoue and Dennis Kauppila, one young farming family developed a business plan to help sort out options for the farm business by organizing their financial data. This analysis resulted in a recommendation to work with other lenders and the farm business will now remain viable as a result of this work.
Two loans were approved for the family. The new mortgage and new cattle loan allowed them to pay off open bills and reduce debt service payments by $20,000 per year. This resulted in a positive budget outcome of $15,000 in 2010.
The actions and follow up by UVM Extension personnel helped a small business remain viable and -- an equally important outcome -- contributed to the financial security of a Vermont family. This family adopted a recommended practice to create and use financial statements which helped them reduce their costs.
Farm Viability and the Ag Business program are committed to working together to support Vermont farm families and strengthen their farm businesses.