Farm Business Planning Programs
Business of Farming
This track 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 4, 2.5 hour live, virtual workshops with other farmers (more information below)
- Work with a service provider for up to 20 hours of business planning assistance, tailored to fit 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.
Virtual Learning: Workshops will be online using a video conference platform. Materials for the workshops will be available online and via email. We can help you get computer and/or reliable internet access if needed – contact Catherine.
This year we have two cohorts to choose from: a diversified farm cohort and a cohort specifically designed for Wild Blueberry growers.
- Diversified Farm Cohort: January 4, 18, 25 and February 1, all from 1 – 3:30 PM
- Wild Blueberry Cohort: January 5, 19, 26 and February 2, all from 1 – 3:30 PM
Time Commitment: The live workshops will be highly interactive. You will spend an estimated 2.5 hrs/wk in workshops for 4 weeks, spread out in January and February. Post workshop materials will be provided for your reference and continued learning.
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 ($38,907).
Reimbursements for expenses related to attending workshops are available as well as options for internet access. Please reach out to us – we do not want upfront cost or internet access to keep you from joining us! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farming for Wholesale
This program is for experienced farmers who currently serve wholesale accounts. The program aims to help farmers profitably serve wholesale markets and achieve their own financial goals. Farming for Wholesale is a highly-selective, competitive application program.
If selected, you will:
- Receive up to 50 hours of individually tailored business planning assistance within the first year of the program. Up to 50 additional hours of technical assistance will also be available during the second year.
- Attend MFT’s Business of Farming workshops, if you have not yet already participated in the workshop series.
- Participate in workshops for experienced wholesale farmers that put your challenges and questions to your farming peers and service providers. Specific topics are chosen by cohort participants.
- Have the opportunity to submit your business plan to compete for an Implementation Grant of up to $50,000.
During the program, you’ll have a chance to:
- Work with an experienced team of business, production, and marketing advisers over 1-2 years.
- Firm up your understanding of your farm’s production costs.
- Have accurate financial records suitable for a business plan; and know how to record and maintain them going forward.
- Evaluate possible scenarios for your business.
- Write a business plan based on your most preferable scenario.
- Have the opportunity to submit your business plan to compete for an Implementation Grant of up to $50,000 from MFT.
Please note: You are not required to have participated in Farming for Wholesale 101 or the Business of Farming to apply for Farming for Wholesale (previously called FFW 201). However, if you are accepted into 201, and you have not participated in FFW 101 or BOF, you will be required to attend the workshops series.
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