According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, 85% of new farm businesses fail within their first five years of production.
Despite this, few programs exist to help develop the business and financial management skills needed to establish a successful farm business.
After receiving feedback about the need for a program like this through their outreach and education efforts, the National Center for Appropriate Technology decided to act.
“We were hearing from farmers at our workshops that our information was helpful but that there was a strong need for information that covered more than just the basics of production,” said Margo Hale, the Southeast Regional Director and Sustainable Livestock Specialist at NCAT.
“After the first few years in business, most farmers have a good understanding of production but we saw that farmers and ranchers lacked the business and finance skills needed to keep their operations running. These skills are critical for farmers with three to seven years of experiences who want to take their farm to the next level.”
Through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Grant (LS18-292), the NCAT team created a six-part program that uses a combination of presentations, speakers, and take-home resources to teach the economic and social aspects of a successful farm business to beginning farmers.
Participants in the program receive training and support across the whole farm business. They develop business plans and record-keeping skills while learning how to access financial management resources, new sources of capital and new markets.
We were hearing from farmers at our workshops that our information was helpful but that there was a strong need for information that covered more than just the basics of production.
Developed over a two-year period, the curriculum was created by a combination of NCAT staff and outside presenters like the National Agricultural Law Center who provide expert advice on critical topics.
Each part of the program was recorded during an in-person session with farmers from Arkansas and is now available for free in an online format for the first time.
The online course can be accessed through the NCAT/ATTRA Tutorials webpage beneath the Beginning Farmer Tutorials section on the Tutorials Page.
Clicking the link below will redirect you to the NCAT/ATTRA Tutorials page
Published by the Southern Region of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Southern SARE operates under cooperative agreements with the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture to offer competitive grants to advance sustainable agriculture in America's Southern region. This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, through Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, under sub-award number: LS18-292. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) LS18-292, Taking Your Farm to the Next Level: Business and financial planning for sustainable farms and ranches