Workshops help plan your process of farm succession By jknut on Dec 4, at 6:
The first California Armed to Farm training was host to 27 individual beginning farmers representing all branches of the military. Some came from as far away as Arizona and Washington in their efforts to bridge the gap between the military service and a career in farming.
The veterans present at the CA ATF expressed many reasons for pursuing careers in farming, including being their own boss, applying structures and systematic military training to a business, and the desire for physical and mental space away from the hustle and bustle of the city. As the first ATF training on this side of the country, the response was overwhelming: We received 60 applications for the 30 available spaces.
The ATF training included daily workshop sessions which covered many topics such as sustainable soils, record keeping, business planning, land access and much more.
In addition to the NCAT staff presenters: Morning workshop sessions then gave way to lunch and afternoon farm visits. Each afternoon the group traveled to a local farm, where the farmers led tours of their properties and shared some of the wisdom and knowledge gained through years of farming and ranching.
Many of the farmers utilized sustainable, organic, and regenerative practices, and they were happy to have honest conversations about the challenges and opportunities in farming.
Here are a few of the comments we received from participants: The event was piled with so many wonderful and pertinent farm business planning workshops. The information was thought provoking, the presenters were so extremely knowledgeable and personable and the accommodations were good and food abundant.
Absolutely wonderful all around!
Our first farm visit took us to Sequoia Farms where veterans learned about orchard irrigation, cover crops, and soil management. We all got our hands dirty with a bit of digging to examine soil structure and biological activity, which is thriving under the abundance of cover crops at Sequoia Farms.
It was a beautiful day at Say Hay Farms. Participants toured the farm and learned about cultivation of diverse vegetables, pastured poultry, and incorporating native species habitat for farm health.
Chris has bat box installations because a single bat, like the Mexican free tail which is common on California farms, can consume its weight in moths and other flying insects in a single night! Orchard floor management, nutrient cycling and hedgerows were the topics of the day at Paddock Farm.
Some walked away with fistfulls of sweet grapefruit and the novel taste of whole green almonds seed coat and all in their mouths. Farmer Brian Paddock stressed the importance of developing lasting relationships with neighboring farmers who have served as great teachers.
A happy group of veterans on a tour of Cloverleaf Farm, owned by Emma Torbert. The challenges of keeping skilled labor on the farm are a real hurdle for many farmers in California and across the country. She has addressed this challenge by exploring various business structures.
Currently the farm is run as a cooperative in which partners share the labor and the profits. Riparian areas, which are highly sensitive to the impact of large herbivores like cattle, also tend to be the most biodiverse areas on any farm.
Protection of these zones helps to keep waterways cleaner and more resistant to erosion. Mike Maddison had a wealth of knowledge to share with us on our trip to Yolo Bulb.
Value added processing, succession planning, and flower production were among the many topics discussed on the tour. As an aging farmer, Mike has been slowly reducing his responsibilities on the farm by transferring some of his acreage to a Korean woman, whose niche is selling Asian vegetables to restaurants, and a couple who are taking over part of his olive orchard.
A practical and pragmatic farmer, Mike began his farming career in the Sacramento Valley by looking at potential markets and narrowing in on niche crops that were under-represented in the area. He has also been able to manage the acre farm without the help of hired labor through careful crop selection and planning.
Armed to Urban Farm will give veterans an opportunity to see sustainable, profitable small-scale farming enterprises and learn about urban farming as a viable career.
Women and men all over the country leave the services with dreams for their future. Perhaps she sat in a Humvee jotting down notes or drawing maps of a future farm.Farm Business Planning Workshop Promoting your Business: Advertising and promotion for your opening: Record the dollar cost of any initial advertising and marketing that you plan to do to announce the launch of your new farm enterprise.
Include the cost of flyers, sales letters and calls, signs, brochures and other promotional items. Current and past presidents of the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau with Ag of the Year, Marilyn Britton.
The Virginia Tech Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition has partnered with Appalachian Sustainable Development to offer a short series of FREE Whole Farm Business Planning workshops.
Workshops & Technical Assistance FARMING FOR WHOLESALE Farming for Wholesale helps farmers participate in, or scale up for, wholesale markets through ongoing farm business planning assistance combined with day-long workshops.
Farm Planning Workshops The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia's (DAFWA) Farm Planning Workshops offer a range of opportunities for farm businesses.
These complementary workshops assist all members of the farm business to build on their skills and provide them with an opportunity to maximise their profits no matter the current economic climate.
Organic Farm Business Planning Page from North Carolina State University features a number of publications and links related to financial planing for organic farmers. Agricultural Business Planning Templates and Resources is an ATTRA publication most relevant to smaller-scale or alternative agricultural entrepreneurs.