Farming for Wholesale
Farming for Wholesale helps farmers participate in, or scale up for, wholesale markets. We combine ongoing farm business planning assistance with day-long workshops and grant opportunities.
Choose from one of two “tracks”, depending on your experience level and farm business goals:
FARMING FOR WHOLESALE 101
This track is for experienced farmers who currently sell wholesale and want to expand, and farmers who want to start selling to wholesale markets.
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 talk with potential wholesale buyers about your products.
During the program, you will:
- Participate in 3 day-long workshops (2 location options listed below)
- Work with a service provider for up to 20 hours of business planning assistance, tailored to fit your goals
- Receive a $1,000 seed grant when you complete the program
During the program, you’ll have a chance to:
- Use last year’s actual records to find your most (& least) profitable crops.
- Learn how to keep and read financial records so that they are useful to you.
- Identify potential customers and evaluate their fit for your farm or product.
- Practice doing market research and putting marketing tactics together into a strategy for wholesale.
- Create and analyze different scenarios for your farm business using profitability audits, financing options, and customer information to make the best planning decisions for your farm. (How to evaluate which crops to expand or diminish, what investments to make or avoid, and so on.)
- Tackle any other challenges or goals you want to set to be successful in wholesale markets
* This year, there will be two versions of Track 101*
- Portland cohort:
- Creamery cohort:
- These workshops will be tailored for value-added dairy producers
- Location: Business School, University of Maine at Orono
- Dates: 9a-4p, Sunday + Monday 1/26-27, Sunday 2/2, Snow Date Sunday 2/9
- This series is offered in partnership with the Maine Cheese Guild and the University of Maine Business School. Please note that UMO students accepted into the Fellowship in Sustainable Business Practices will be participating in the workshops and technical assistance.
Cost: $500 registration fee. Upon completion of the workshops and your successful participation in technical assistance, you will be awarded a $1,000 seed grant. There is a net gain of $500 to your farm!
Scholarships are available, as well as payment plans. Reimbursements for travel and other expenses related to attending workshops are available. Please reach out to us – we do not want upfront cost to keep you from joining us! firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications are OPEN! Register by December 23, 2019.
Register below or by phone by calling the MFT office, 207.338.6575.
FARMING FOR WHOLESALE 201
This track is for experienced farmers who currently serve wholesale accounts and are ready to scale up significantly. Farming for Wholesale 201 is a highly-selective, competitive application program.
If selected, you will:
- Receive up to 50 hours of business planning assistance, tailored to fit your goals
- Have the option to continue technical assistance for a second year with an additional up to 50 hours of assistance.
- Participate in 3 day-long workshops, if you have not yet already participated in Farming for Wholesale 101 (2 location options; see 101 registration info)
- Have the opportunity to submit your scaled-up 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 scaling up 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.
Applications have closed for 2020. Stay tuned for 2021!
Please note: You are not required to have participated in 101 to apply for 201. However, if you are accepted into 201, and you have not participated in 101, you will be required to attend the workshops series.
To have a paper application mailed to you, call (207) 338-6575
HERE’S WHAT FARMERS SAY ABOUT THE PROGRAM:
“I’ve put my time with Wholesale 101 on my list of the top ten things I’ve done to ensure Eldertide & Maine Medicinals’ success.”
-Edie Johnston, Eldertide Farm & Maine Medicinals
“Having you vet and correct my spreadsheets while providing additional thoughts as to which areas of my business I should be concerned with made all the difference to my bottom line this year. We made more income than ever, largely due to this workshop.”
–Chris Cavendish, Fishbowl Farm
“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
SOURCING LOCAL MADE EASIER: FARMER + BUYER WORKSHOP
Are you a wholesale buyer who wants to source more from Maine farmers? Join Maine Farmland Trust for a workshop that brings experienced farmers and wholesale buyers together to identify the “pain points” in sourcing local food and strategize solutions.
Participating farmers and buyers will have the opportunity to:
- Share tips and experiences on best communication protocols and planning methods that produce better consistency and value for all parties.
- Coordinate strategy for packaging and promoting local foods.
- Understand pricing strategies and to learn how to set prices that will be sustainable for all parties involved.
- Develop empathy, and a deeper understanding of what it’s like to be in the shoes of someone else along the supply chain.
Who: Established wholesale farmers who have participated in MFT’s Farming for Wholesale business planning program. Wholesale buyers who source Maine-grown products, or would like to start sourcing local products.
Facilitator: Jed Beach, FarmSmart Maine
When + Where: Portland area in February
Registration will open soon!
Please direct questions to email@example.com.
WANT MFT TO BRING FARMING FOR WHOLESALE TO YOU?
We often partner with local organizations and farmer groups to bring the Farming for Wholesale workshops to you! If interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.