This summer and fall, UF/IFAS Extension will host the Ag Entrepreneurship Series, a program designed to help aspiring and beginning farmers sow the seeds of success.
“Extension offices across the state often hear from residents who are interested in starting a small farm or related business. However, many of these folks don’t have an agricultural background and need help getting their idea off the ground,” said Tatiana Sanchez-Jones, commercial horticulture agent with UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County. “In response, a few years ago we created the Ag Entrepreneurship Series, and it’s still going strong,”
Sanchez co-leads the program with Kevin Athearn, regional specialized agent for rural agribusiness development.
“Even those with business experience can benefit greatly from the program,” Athearn said. “That’s because agricultural enterprises are quite a bit different from other types of businesses. Our program helps people factor in those important differences and be in a better position to get financing for their farm and make the most of that investment.”
The program is open to anyone in Florida. Registration for the 2023 Ag Entrepreneurship Series is available through UF/IFAS Extension Online Learning.
The award-winning Ag Entrepreneurship series first launched in 2018 and has since expanded to include three workshops. Each workshop starts with a two-week, online course that includes recorded presentations, case study videos, worksheets and a discussion forum where workshop members can ask questions of the workshop leaders and network with each other.
- Starting a Farm (June 16-30): Introduces learners to the basics of starting a farm business and includes setting a vision and goals, assessing financial readiness, evaluating suitability and feasibility of the enterprise, and the ins and outs of business structures, registration and regulations.
- Farm Business Planning (Aug. 10-24): Takes learners through the more technical aspects of developing a farm business and includes conducting market research and a SWOT analysis, developing a mission statement and plans for marketing, operations, human resources, finances and risk management.
- Marketing for Your Small Farm (Oct. 13-27): Walks learners through business plan implementation and includes marketing and promotional strategies, avenues for selling to consumers, and technologies for taking orders and accepting payment online.
At the end of each online course, participants attend a two-hour presentation and Q & A session with industry experts, including representatives from program partners Farm Credit of Florida and the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement. Participants can attend these sessions in person or via Zoom.
People can sign up for one or more workshops in the series. Each workshop is $45, and participants who register for all three get a discounted rate of $100. Workshops are capped at 35 people, so early registration is recommended.