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Business Planning Courses From NE Beginning Farmer Project

Farm smarter with business planning courses offered online this winter from NE Beginning Farmer Project!

Women_Laptop_Medium-1ichasv-200x300While knowledge of how to grow a crop is critical to small farm success, equally important are the business planning and decision making skills to make the numbers work.

This is why, in addition to a number of courses specific to a farm enterprise, the Cornell Small Farms Program offers a wide array of business planning courses available through its Northeast Beginning Farmer Project.


Have questions?
Erica Frenay, Online Course Coordinator at 607-255-9911 or
Steve Gabriel, Online Course Support at


Winter 2016 Business Courses

BF 102: Markets and Profits: Exploring the Feasibility of Your 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)

Course Dates: January 14th – February 28th, 2016


BF 201: Effective Marketing: Sell Smarter, Not Harder
Most of us go into farming with the thought of making some – or all – of our livelihood through the sale of what we make or grow. As you grow your operation to provide more of your family’s income, having a carefully planned marketing strategy becomes more critical. Completion of this online course will enable you to better understand how to price your products, position yourself in the “buy local”, direct sales or wholesale marketplace, and understand low-cost “guerrilla” marketing tactics to get the best bang for your buck and make your farm operation financially sustainable.

Course Dates: January 11th – February 21st, 2016


BF 203: Holistic Financial Planning: Building Profit into the Picture
If you’ve been struggling to make your farm operation profitable without driving yourself into the ground, this financial planning course is for you. Ultimately it will help you with the delicate balancing act that all farmers must succeed in: balancing healthy profits with healthy land and a healthy farm family and personal life. You will learn how to make financial decisions toward farm & family values and goals, and how to build profit into your plans up front, rather than hoping there is something left once expenses are subtracted from income. If you have been struggling with the financial statements in your business plan, this is a great course to help you focus in on these and get clear on your numbers.

Course Dates: January 20th – February 24th, 2016


BF 202: Planning to Stay in Business – Writing Your Business Plan
Whether you intend to borrow money or not, heading into a farm venture without a business plan is like setting sail across the ocean without a map. Either way, you’re likely to run into bumps and twists that can derail your venture. Arm yourself with a business plan and you will have a guide to aid your farm decision-making and demonstrate to yourself and your family that your ideas are feasible. This intensive, fast-paced course is designed to help you build your plan quickly.

Course Dates: February 4th – March 10th, 2016


BF 103: Taking Care of Business – Understanding the Business, Regulatory, and Tax Implications of Your Farm

This course is designed to help aspiring or beginning farmers better assess and manage a variety of risks that farmers face in operating their farms. Throughout the six week period, topics essential for operating a farm business will be discussed. Participants will learn about insurance coverages, types of business structures and tax information.

Course Dates: March 14th – April 11th, 2016




About Our Online Courses
From aspiring to experienced farmers, there is a course for nearly everyone. Check out our handy chart on the course home page to direct you to the right courses for your experience level.

What are the courses like? All of our courses consist of weekly real-time webinars followed by homework, readings, and discussions on your own time in an online setting. If you aren’t able to attend the live webinars, they are always recorded for later viewing.

Cost? Each course is $200, but up to 4 people from the same farm may participate without paying extra. See the course description page for more on a particular course.



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