Young and beginning farmers frequently want to improve their business skills, but can't because of their many time commitments, says Bob Frazee, CEO of Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit. Now there's a ready-made solution, he adds, with online plus face-to-face learning experiences.
Sign-up for the next class of the AgBiz Masters program is underway. "We're excited to offer this innovative program because online learning gives them a chance to attend top notch training classes when it suits their busy schedules," adds Frazee. If you're interested, plan to sign up before the October 31 deadline.
The two-year AgBiz Master program is available to young, beginning, and minority farmers in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, who are interested in broadening their financial and management skill set. It was developed by Virginia Tech Ag Economist David Kohl, and now a professor emeritus.
The series includes online sessions and coursework, plus regional face-to-face learning experiences led by industry experts. Areas of study include trends in agriculture, strategic business planning, preparing for your lender, constructing a balance sheet, understanding lending decisions and ethics.
Who qualifies and for what
Beginning farmers with less than 10 years of experience and young farmers 35 years old or less are eligible, says Raechel Sattazahn, coordinator for AgChoice Farm Credit. Internet access, and in particular, high-speed internet access, is necessary to view the on-line modules.
However, young and beginning farmers without high-speed internet capability at their homes or businesses have several options. Many local libraries offer free internet access. And, several program supporters will allow participants to use computers with high speed internet access at local offices, says Sattazahn. If that's your case, contact Sattazahn at 800-349-3568 ext. 6016 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in the program.
Online modules are at the participant's convenience. The two in-person workshop sessions in January and March, are held in 12 to 14 locations across Pennsylvania and Maryland are generally held from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The kick-off session is set for November 22.
The registration fee for AgBiz Masters is $125 and it covers one or two people. Scholarships and reimbursement opportunities are available. And, grant funding is available from USDA's Risk Management Agency.
For more AgBiz Masters details, click on http://www.agbizmasters.com .
Program Supporters include: Acuity Advisors and CPAs, AgChoice Farm Credit, Agricultural Veterinary Associates, Pennsylvania Center for Dairy Excellence, Chester County Economic Development Council,
Country View Family Farms, Dairylea Cooperative, Inc. and Dairy Farmers of America – Northeast Council, Elanco Animal Health, Kutztown University SBDC, Lancaster DHIA, Land O'Lakes, Inc., MidAtlantic Farm Credit, PennAg Industries Association, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Pennsylvania Beef Council, Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania Farm Link, Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association, Penn State Extension, Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania, Select Sire Power, USDA/Risk Management Agency, Young Grower Alliance and Wenger Feeds.