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Farm Business Planning

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Just Be Cause Center, 1013 W State St, Ithaca, NY 14850

Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming will again be conducting the 5thannual Farm Business Planning Course beginning in January 2018. This 9-session course is specifically for people in the early to mid stages of developing an agricultural business.  Whether you are just launching your business or have been operating a few years and want to become more strategic in how you move forward, this course will help you expand and increase viability and social impacts. The course is taught by a team of farmer educators, social justice activists, and farm business instructors. Course participants are able to take advantage of one-to-one guidance and support from any course instructors during the course to support individual business goals or learning needs.

Please note; if English language fluency is a barrier to taking this course, interpretation, translation and English as a New Language tutors are available for individualized guidance.

Throughout the course, by way of presentations, activities and farmer panels, students will learn core pieces of planning for a farm business: setting appropriate goals, matching production to market strategy, and assessing feasibility.  The course will also cover basic financial and accounting concepts, the legalities of farming, and sources of financing. Woven into the course are topics of equity and justice in the food system, including examples of realistic ways to approach these within the scope of your business model. A brief overview of services available from regional farm development providers will also be shared in the course including Alternatives Federal Credit Union small business program, Farm Credit East loan options, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services and Farm Service Agency programs.

Students consistently report that the greatest part of the course is the opportunity to work with farmers and course instructors to outline goals, develop strategies for achieving these goals and get feedback on business plans.

In order to successfully complete this class, we suggest that students have at least one year of hands-on production experience, a clear business concept in progress, enough time to fully commit to an intensive 9-week course requiring outside research and homework. It is not a requirement that students own land or have the financial resources to buy land: this course will explore opportunities to lease land for farming in the Tompkins County area, and to find farm financing and loans.

About the Instructors:

Leslie Ackerman (Business Consultant), Monika Roth (Ag Program Leader, CCE), Matt LeRoux (Ag Marketing Specialist, CCE), Amanda David (Rootwork Herbals), Alan Gandelman (Main Street Farms)Erica Frenay (Cornell Small Farms, Shelterbelt Farm)Krystal Zwiesineyi Chindori-Chininga (Holistic Management Teacher and Development Sociology MA student), Rafael Aponte (Youth Farm Project Director, Rocky Acres Farm)  and Kate Cardona (Groundswell Equity and Outreach Coordinator).

If you have questions about the course please contact or call 607-319-5095.


Step 1: Fill out the written application here or in our office.

Step 2: After submitting a written application, fill out the registration form and submit $50 deposit

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Class/ Workshop


Small Farms Program



$90 – $350 Sliding Scale

Small Farms Program: Central NY
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