If you're a farmer, growing crops presents one set of challenges. But selling the crops after you grow them may be an even bigger challenge.
Don't despair. There are a number of resources available for West Virginia farmers, many of them free.
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture has a number of resources that can be helpful.
There is a list of West Virginia wineries at this site – you can find wine, or, if you're establishing a new winery you may want to get on the list so others can find you.
There is a link to a National Farmers' Market Directory at this site. Its West Virginia Grown Produce Availability Chart can help farmers plan to have various products for sell throughout a season. And the electronic version of WVDA's brochure, Foods and Things, A Producer Guide and Directory, is also here.
West Virginia University has established its online WV Extension's Small Farm Center to assist small farmers and entrpreneurs. This site contains a number of helpful tools for new businessperson, including risk management tools for fruit farms, dairy, nurseries, small grain farms and others. You can find a list of West Virginia farmers markets here and schedules of upcoming events. There is also a list of grants available to farmers that is updated as new moneys become available.
Don't forget the saying, Seek and ye shall find. Be on the lookout for events and workshops that can offer new businesspeople guidance.
A Food Safety Workshop in Huntington, WV, recently offered farmers answers to some of their most often asked questions.
The one-day event covered a variety of problem solutions, including developing a business plan, applying for loans, determining prices, registering trademarks and buying insurance. A number of topics focused on safety considerations, too, like inspections, obtaining required certificates, labeling, responding to emergencies and marketing.
A few of the presentations at this event included From Garden to Store Shelf: Everything You Need to Know for Manufacturing a Food Product, So You Want to Start a Small Business, and Know Your Employee – Awareness on Intentional Contamination of Food and Its Prevention.
Information at this presentation also covered how to avoid personal liabilities, tax advantages, and how to structure a business legally.