Back to Class…for New Farmers

As we head into the fall, UVM Extension begins offering its classes around the state and online for new and aspiring farmers.  Whether you are just considering making a business out of a farm or need to restrategize a current farm business, the UVM Extension New Farmer Project offers classes developed specifically for your needs.

But can a class really make a difference in the development and success of your farm?  Here are four reasons why taking a farm business class is a good investment in the future of your farm.

1. Proof is in the Planning— Whether you have a great farm business idea, or want to grow or change your current farm, good planning pays off.   Getting clear on your goals and values, thinking through your strengths and weaknesses, making sense of the market place and how your plans translate into dollars is an investment of time and paper.  Paper is Farm business class at; time…maybe not so much. But wasting paper and time on an unproven idea is less risky than wasting money and time.  Classes give you the opportunity to discover mistaken assumptions and fully vet your plan, so you have confidence when you do put your money on the line.

2. Money Matters— Like it or not, farms require money to operate.  They might need a little or a lot, depending on scale and markets, but having access to capital to start and run your farm business is a key to its success.  Farm business classes help you understand how much income your farm can generate, how much capital you will need to keep your farm humming, how to evaluate where you should invest your money on the farm (land? fencing? greenhouses? marketing?), and how to understand farm finances so you can make smart business decisions.

3. Gaining Focus off the Farm— Farms, like any new business, take a lot of time and energy to start and maintain.  It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details and forget about the big picture.  Farm business classes give you the time to concentrate on your whole business and access to experts who can offer input where you need it the most.

4. Networking for New Opportunities— Ag based businesses can be isolating.  Classes provide a rich environment for collaboration and support from other farmers, service providers and technical experts.  A new farmer recently said to us, “I realized that starting a farm was really about building a community.”  Classes are a great place for you to invest in your own community building.

So as you think about your plans this fall and winter, consider how a farm business class might support your farm’s success.  For more information on farm business classes offered by the UVM Extension New Farmer Project contact Jessie Schmidt at or call 802-223-2389 x203. Check out the schedule in brief below and find full descriptions, class information and registration online.

Growing Places: for aspiring and start-up farmers, register by October 3, online course registration deadline December 28.

Taking Stock: for restrategizing farmers, register by October 25.

Whole Farm Planning for Beginning Women Farmers: for women farmers with 2-10 years farm management experience, apply by November 1.

Building a Sustainable Business: for start-up farmers and farmers in need of a business plan, register by November 28.

Introduction to Ag Financial Management: open to all, register by January 30.


About Jessie Schmidt

Ag and Community Program Coordinator for the University of Vermont Extension.
This entry was posted in Financial Mgmt, General info, Resources for Beginning Farmers, Scaling up and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Back to Class…for New Farmers

  1. Pingback: Upcoming Fall & Winter Farm Classes – from UVM Ext & WAgN « What's Growin' On

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