University of Vermont

Course Helps New Farmers with Business Planning

Burlington--Building a Sustainable Business, a University of Vermont (UVM) Extension New Farmer Project course, will be offered at several Vermont locations this winter.

The six-session course is designed to help farmers and agricultural and specialty food business owners, who are just starting up or have less than five years' experience, develop a holistic business plan that reflects their personal values and professional goals. Classes will be held simultaneously at the UVM Extension offices in Berlin, St. Albans and Springfield from 1 to 4 p.m. Dates are Dec. 4, 11 and 18 and Jan. 8, 15 and 22 with Jan.29 as the snow date.

The $165 registration fee is due by Nov. 22 with a $45 discount for early bird registrations received by Nov. 15. Registrations received after Nov. 22 will be subject to an additional $25 late fee. Registration discounts are available to anyone who has completed the Growing Places course, also offered through the UVM Extension New Farmer Project.

 To register, or for information about the course and financial assistance, log onto www.uvm.edu/newfarmer and click on "Classes."  If requiring a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Jessie Schmidt at (802) 223-2389, ext. 203 or (866) 860-1382, ext. 203 (toll-free in Vermont) by Nov. 15.

The curriculum is based on a comprehensive business planning guide developed by the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program. Individuals will learn how to analyze their current resources, set goals, develop viable marketing strategies and gain a better understanding of the financial side of operating an agricultural business.

Although not required, anyone who has completed the Growing Places course and/or who has at least one year of production or financial business records will benefit the most from this course.

The UVM Extension New Farmer Project will offer another business course for farmers beginning in February entitled Introduction to Ag Financial Management. Visit www.uvm.edu/newfarmer to learn more.