March 1, 2023
This month, we wrapped up the workshop phase of our 2023 Farm Business Planning Programs, and are gearing up for what comes next. This year, a total of 46 farms across the state are beginning or continuing our Farm Business Planning Programs, as we navigate real world challenges of owning a farm business and design solutions together.
In the recent final Business of Farming - Livestock Cohort workshop (pictured above), participants worked through an exercise to brainstorm ideas to address the processing bottleneck and increase sales for Maine livestock producers. Business of Farming is a one-year program to support farmers with calculating crop profitability, tools for detailed recordkeeping and forecasting, financing and navigating loans, and marketing strategies for farm businesses. This year's program is geared toward two cohorts of farmers - Diversified Farm Cohort and Livestock Cohort. The Livestock Cohort is new this year, and was formed in response to farmer feedback asking to look specifically at livestock operations. At the first workshops, we took a close look at balance sheet templates, profit and loss statements, cash flow forecasting, and other recordkeeping tools and templates.
Farming for the Long Haul is a new program, conceived out of a need we heard from farmers to find innovative ways to make farming more sustainable over the long-term. In this two-year business planning program for experienced farmers, participants are focused on visioning what long-term viability looks like for each farm. This entails creating a 10-year financial plan, developing goals, and identifying resources and business models to grow the stability of their business over time. "We’ll be working with farmers more on practicing adaptability and building skills for resilience, because that’s what’s needed for farmers to be successful far into the future," says Farm Business Planning Program Manager Alex Fouliard.
We are excited to share the farms that have joined these programs this year:
Lazy Acres Farm - Farmingdale
Foxfire Farm - Palermo
Morning Glory Farm Maine LLC - Bethel
Orchard Ridge Farm - Gorham
Pastures New Farm - Saco
Flywheel Flowers - Jackson
Winslow Farm - Falmouth
Nettie Fox Farm - Newburgh
Frontier Maple - Jackman
Hope Orchards/AK Produce – Hope
The Milkhouse - Monmouth
PAL Livestock - Merrill
The Noon Family Sheep Farm - Springvale
Grace Pond - Thomaston
Old Crow Ranch - Durham
Sparkplug Farm - Leeds
Winter Hill Farm - Freeport
Misty Brook Farm - Albion
Two Toad Farm - Lebanon
Little Ridge Farm - Lisbon Falls
Second Frost Farm - Monroe
Jordans Family Farm - Cape Elizabeth
Misty Brook Farm - Albion
Brigeen Farm/Canty Cow Creamery - Turner
Rustic Roots - Farmington
Berry Fruit Farm - Livermore
Moving forward, Business of Farming participants will spend the year partnering with MFT to continue developing their financial goals, receive technical assistance support to help implement them, and earn a $500 seed grant. Farming for the Long Haul participants will partner with MFT over the course of two years to write a business plan proposal, which may include defining a business model and marketing strategy, that will be help their farm remain viable and resilient over the long term. Throughout the program, they will receive technical assistance support and resources and will have the opportunity to apply for a $65,000 implementation grant to use toward their business plan upon completion of the program. As these programs continue, we look forward to seeing how these farms will reach their goals and grow the success of their businesses.