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Cooperative Extension offers course for those looking to start a farm business

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 9:11 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 18, 2021 at 4:23 PM EDT
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ORONO, Maine (WAGM) -

If you’re considering getting into the business of farming, but aren’t sure how, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension has a course that can put you on the right path to growth and prosperity. Kathy McCarty has more in this week’s County Ag Report.

If you’ve started or are considering starting a farm as a business, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering an online program, via Zoom, designed to teach you the skills you’ll need to be a success.

“We offer a farm business training program for people who are getting into agriculture for the first time or who maybe have started up their business and realized that they need a little bit more help on the business planning side. And we get started on the 29th of March and run through April this year,” says Tori Jackson, Extension Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources, with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Industry experts, including farmers, will share their expertise, says Tori Jackson, Extension Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“We’ll have two sessions a week where we’ll cover topics about how to write a business plan, what’s an enterprise budget and how to create one for something on your operation. We’ll also be talking about how to assess a property and its soils for appropriateness for agriculture. We’ll help you develop a system for your market research. We’ll have lots of guest speakers,” says Jackson.

The course is designed to fit any farm size, whether you are stating small or have your heart set on a multi-acre venture.

She says, ‘You know, as long as you’re looking at a commercial operation and not doing a homestead, where it’s just for your own use, we are interested in having you join our class.”

Interest in the program has continued to grow, especially in the past year.

“Certainly in this past year, folks have realized that, you know, they can work from home, if they’ve got good WiFi. And people who want to grow their own food are thinking maybe one step beyond, that maybe they can take that love of gardening or raising livestock and take it to the next level and really - really start a business. So we think our timing is really good for something like this and expect to see some new faces,” says Jackson.

For more information on how to register, visit our website. Kathy McCarty, NewsSource 8

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a seven-session online course for aspiring farmers starting March 29th. The class meets from 5:30–7:30 p.m. twice per week through April 22nd. Individual consultations will be scheduled April 26th and April 29th.

So You Want to Farm in Maine?” is designed for those wanting to start or expand to a profitable farm operation.

The sliding-scale fee is $50–$150 per person; registration is limited to 40 participants. To register, visit: https://extension.umaine.edu/register/product/so-you-want-to-farm-in-maine-2021/ . The required text, “Building a Sustainable Business” by SARE, is available for free download. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Melissa Freeman, (207) 353-5550; melissa.freeman@maine.edu.

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