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Farm Business Planning Programs

Ready to spend some time analyzing your business with support from technical service providers? Check out our two business planning programs below!

We offer two programs, depending on your experience level and farm business goals. Registration is closed for both programs, and the next round of applications will open in late 2023.

Business of Farming

This program is for experienced farmers who want to analyze their current business model and use the information for decision making.

Drawing on a panel of business experts from around the state, as well as other growers, we’ll uncover the story your financial records are telling you, and develop your ability to make strategic business decisions that move you in the direction of your goals.

In this program, you will:

  • Participate in 3 full-day workshops with other farmers.
  • Receive a $1,100 budget for technical assistance, tailored to meet your goals.
  • Receive a $500 seed grant when you complete the program, plus your registration fee back.

During the program, you’ll have a chance to:

  • Use last year’s actual records to find your most (& least) profitable crops.
  • Get tips and tricks on bookkeeping best practices and tools.
  • Learn how to keep and read financial records so that they are useful to you.
  • Identify potential markets and evaluate their fit for your farm or product.
  • Practice doing market research and putting marketing tactics together into a strategy for success.
  • Give consideration to your plan for long-term financial success and eventual succession/transition.

There are two cohorts to choose from: a diversified farm cohort and a cohort specifically designed for livestock producers

Dates:

  • Diversified Farm Cohort: January 18, 25 and February 8 (snow date February 7), 9:30am-3:30pm at The Morris Farm in Wiscasset
  • Livestock Cohort: January 24, 31 and February 14 (snow date March 1), 9:30am-3:30pm at The Morris Farm in Wiscasset, plus one optional pasture walk in the summer.

Cost: Pay what you can, between $25 – $500. Upon completion of the workshops and your successful participation in technical assistance, you will be awarded a $500 seed grant and receive your registration fee back.

We aim to make our programs accessible to all farmers, so the registration fee is a self-determined sliding scale. Here are some suggested parameters to guide you in determining the amount to pay for registration.

$25+ – Suggested amount for members of our community who have been affected by systemic oppression, namely farmers who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and/or with disability

Up to $100 – Suggested amount to help alleviate any winter cash flow concerns, and/or if you are farming without long-term access to land

Up to $250 – Suggested amount if this is a business expense for your farm and/or you are farming with long-term access to land

Up to $500 – Suggested amount if this is a business expense for your farm, you are farming with long-term access to land, and/or earn through farming at least the typical annual salary for “Farming, Fishing and Forestry”, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator ($40,510).

Reimbursements for expenses related to attending workshops are available. Please reach out to us – we do not want upfront cost to keep you from joining us! Contact catherine@mainefarmlandtrust.org.

Registration is closed for the 2023 program. Please check back in late 2023 for the next round of applications.

Farming for the Long Haul

A two year business planning program for experienced farmers that combines technical assistance, peer learning, and an opportunity to apply for a grant to implement your business plan.

Are you an experienced farmer looking for more stability in your farm business? Is your business ready to find stability? Do you want to dive deep into a business plan that achieves long-term viability? Wondering how to use financial planning to improve your quality of life and confidence in your business? If you’re looking for structure and support to think about the future of your established business, consider applying for Farming for the Long Haul.

Farming for the Long Haul is for you, if you: 

  • Know the profitability of each of the enterprises on your farm, and have a profitable product mix
  • Have confidence in your markets and know which market channels are the best fit for your business
  • Have a solid bookkeeping system that supplies you with data you use to make decisions
  • Regularly make financial forecasts and know how to read a profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.
  • Have grown your business, and are thinking about plans to build equity
  • Have 20% of your cultivated acreage in food production

If you feel like you’re not quite at this stage, but want to get there, consider enrolling in our Business of Farming program!

If selected for Farming for the Long Haul, you will:

  • Receive up to a $2,750 budget per year to be used on individually tailored technical assistance, for a total of two years. MFT staff will help you identify your short- and long-term goals, and pair you with a technical assistance provider who has the applicable expertise to meet those goals. 
  • Attend MFT’s Business of Farming workshops (if you have not yet already participated in the workshop series).
  • Participate in workshops for experienced farmers that put your challenges and questions to your farming peers and service providers. The kick-off session will include long-term financial planning, and other topics will be chosen by cohort participants.
  • Have the option to write a business plan, focused on achieving your long-term viability goals. 
  • Have the opportunity to submit your business plan to compete for an Implementation Grant of up to $65,000.
  • Continue to have the opportunity to engage with previous years’ cohorts through networking and yearly workshops. 

During the program, you’ll be matched with an experienced team of business, production, marketing, and retirement advisers over two years to:

  • Set long term financial goals and plan for them, including building equity. 
  • Create possible scenarios for your business and write a business plan based on your most preferable scenario.
  • Create a 10-year financial forecast, that defines a roadmap to increase equity over time 
  • Planning for eventually exiting the business and receive support around succession planning, tailored to where you’re at in your business and life stage.

Registration is closed for the 2023 program. Please check back in late 2023 for the next round of applications.

Farming for Wholesale

 

Applications for Farming for Wholesale are closed. Next year’s applications will open in mid-November 2022.

Here’s what farmers say about the program:

The wholesale program gave me the tools and skills I needed to look at my numbers in ways I never had thought to do previously. It really made me look at my individual enterprises and determine what was making, or losing money. The one-on-one technical assistance I received was invaluable.

– Christelle McKee, Copper Tail Farm

 

“I’d just like to say thanks to you and everyone at MFT for putting on such a fantastic program- it had already proven super during the past year and will continue to help as we implement our technical assistance work and take the next steps to growing our business.”

– Steve Burger, Winter Hill Farm

 

“I am not a numbers person, and have taken many financials workshops to try to build my knowledge. This one took a different approach and I think I understood every word.”

– Anonymous participant

SOURCING LOCAL MADE EASIER: FARMER + BUYER WORKSHOP

Are you a wholesale buyer who wants to source more from Maine farmers? Join Maine Farmland Trust for a workshop that brings experienced farmers and wholesale buyers together to identify the “sticking points” in sourcing local food and strategize solutions.

Participating farmers and buyers will have the opportunity to:

  • Coordinate strategy for promoting local foods.
  • Identify customer types who might be likely to increase their local purchases
  • Share tips and experiences on best communication protocols and planning methods that produce better consistency and value for all parties.
  • Develop empathy, and a deeper understanding of what it’s like to be in the shoes of someone else along the supply chain.

Who: Established wholesale farmers who have participated in MFT’s Farming for Wholesale business planning program. Wholesale buyers who source Maine-grown products, or would like to start sourcing local products.

Facilitator: Jed Beach, FarmSmart Maine

When + Where: Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at Deering Grange in Portland from 9am-4pm (snow date Tuesday, March 10)

Registration NOW OPEN! 

Please direct questions to alex@mainefarmlandtrust.org.WANT MFT TO BRING FARMING FOR WHOLESALE TO YOU?

We often partner with local organizations and farmer groups to bring the Farming for Wholesale workshops to you! If interested, please contact alex@mainefarmlandtrust.org.[su_button url="http://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/donation-gravity-new/" style="flat" background="#8E9F3C" size="19" wide="no" radius="0" center="yes" icon=""]BECOME A MEMBER[/su_button]

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