Markets & Profits (BF 102)
Exploring the Feasibility of Your Farming Ideas
Have an idea for a farm enterprise but not sure if it’s feasible? This course will get you started exploring the potential markets and profitability of your ideas. It picks up where BF 101: Square One left off, so follows a natural learning progression from that course. (You do not have to take BF 101 before taking BF 102; however, you will likely get more out of BF 102 if you go into it with some existing knowledge of the concepts and terminology commonly used in business planning).
”Marketing might be the hardest and most important skill in beginning a farm, and so learning about some of the different ways to go about this was invaluable to me as I start my own farm.” –Elias K, Mount Arlington, NJ
Aspiring farmers who are actively planning farm start-up. Beginning farmers in their first few years who are looking for some help exploring marketing, development of budgets, and tools to help achieve profitability. This is an intro-level course that is designed to be taken concurrently or directly after BF 101.
This course will help you:
- Identify farm goals and timelines for an enterprise
- Begin to develop enterprise budgets and understand the potential for profitability with selected agricultural products
- Explore marketing outlets and concepts important for successfully branding and selling your product
- Understand that everything in farming is interconnected
The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in MOODLE, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters, ask questions, and collaborate with other participants and the instructor to address your farm issues in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.
Qualifying for Loans
If you are considering applying for a low-interest beginning farmer loan though the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), completing this course may help you qualify, if you meet other eligibility requirements. For farmers in NY who have already applied for an FSA loan and been told they need borrower training credit, all of our courses are pre-approved to provide you with this credit, if you complete all course requirements. For more information, visit the FSA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Loans website.
Beth Claypoole is Ag Issues Leader of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Wayne County, NY.
Alison DeMarree is the Farm Business Management Specialist for the Lake Ontario Fruit Region of NY.
This course will next be offered in late 2013. If you want to make sure you get the announcement about course dates, sign up for Small Farms Program e-news, subscribe to our blog, become a fan on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter
- Week 1 – Introduction and Orientation to Moodle
This is a chance for those in the class to get to know each other and get some tips on using the course content software, Moodle. (For students carrying on from the first course, this week is a chance to keep researching questions about your site and what you want to produce)
- Week 2 – Farm Goals
This week will be spent helping participants identify what goals they may initially have for their farm business. For example, is the farm going to be the only source of family income or just supplement it? If students have already developed their farm goals, we will move directly into the next week’s material.
- Week 3 and 4 - Marketing Discussion and Plans
Week three will be spent exploring the topic of marketing in regards to a farm business. Week four will be spent helping participants to start preparing a marketing plan for their farm.
- Week 5 and 6 – What Will it Take to be Profitable?
Week five is spent discussing ways to measure profitability for a farm business and other related issues. Week six is the last week of the course and will help participants learn if an agricultural crop they are interested in can be produced profitably.
Cost and Registration
Course fee is $200. Registration will open in August 2013.