Buying local seems to be gaining interest, and the idea of keeping farm sales money in area circulation is triggering new ideas on how to manage such operations.
As a result, Washington State University's Snohomish County Extension Service is running a "Cultivating Success: Agricultural Entrepreneurship and Farm Business Planning" class through April 9 at the Cougar Auditorium, 600 128th St. SE, Everett.
The course, costing $275 per person, includes out-of-classroom seminars and a Saturday farm field trip.
Farmers will be offered tips and hints on business planning and marketing during the sessions from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. every Tuesday.
Speakers include bankers, business professionals and successful farm owners with special emphasis on financial and legal issues unique to a farm-based business attempting to market its crops locally.
Participants will be guided in developing a personal business plan that can fit their specific farm needs. The plan may be helpful when seeking loans from agricultural lenders.
Course facilitator is Holly Thompson, a Stanwood Angus beef rancher and WSU graduate in animal science and ag economics. She also handles the "Cultivating Success: Sustainable Small Acreage Farming & Ranching" program. Her background as a former Northwest Farm Credit Services loan officer will enhance the knowledge she will bring to the seminar, say course organizers.
The Cultivating Success programs, offered through several universities in the Pacific Northwest and Inland Northwest, is a USDA-funded program which focuses on bring the tools of success to producers in the region.
The programs are designed to connect students with industry resources to expose them to the "real world" of farming through a community-based experimental approach.
The courses offered in Washington and Idaho are posted in different locations in subsequent years, and bring many members of the university faculty into the program to disseminate information that is focused on helping producers succeed.
To register, go to snohomish.wsu.edu or call Karie Christensen at (425) 357-6039.