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NC State Extension

Successful Business Planning Workshop for Specialty Crops and Small Green Industry Business June 22-29, 2004

PROJECT LEADER(S): Thomas M Campbell

IMPACT: Of the 13 participants that attended the workshop, 8 completed business plans or were satisfied with their completion process, 1 potential enterprise chose to cancel their plans. Both were retirement age and after completing the course decided that the resource investments that they would need to contribute to creating a successful farming enterprise exceeded that that they were willing to provide. Two of the participants changed the focus of their business interests and 15 individuals, unable to attend, have since expressed interest in a similar program. These individuals indicated that winter season classes would fit their schedules better.

SUMMARY: In February, we were awarded a Specialty Crops Grant to conduct a business planning workshop of specialty crop and small green industry businesses. Funds for this educational program came from several sources, including: Golden Leaf Foundation, Carolina Farm Credit, and participant registration. This program was developed over a period of 4 months by a team made up of one extension agent; Cliff Ruth, one extension specialist; Jeff Owen, and one NCDA Marketing Specialist; Bill Glenn.

The program was conducted during two day sessions and concluded with a graduation banquet. A total of 16 producers attended the sessions. The curriculum for the program was based on the text: “Building a Sustainable Business; A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses”. This approach was very well received and allowed the participants to work at their own pace. The sessions were held on June 22nd and June 29th, with the final banquet on July 27th. (See attached agenda and photo gallery).

This type of educational program needs to be conducted on an annual basis for new and beginning growers and/or green industry enterprises. Due to the hands-on nature of the program, it should be conducted with a maximum of 25 attendees (ideally no more than 15 or 20 participants). Follow up programs and advance training are needed to encourage the participants in maintaining their goals and strengthen their business plans.

June, 22nd Agenda

8:00 – 8:15: Introduction and Overview- Cliff Ruth, NCCES, Area Extension Agent

8:15 – 8:35: Warm up exercise/ get acquainted

8:35 – 9:15: Evaluating Your Current Financial Situation

9:15 –10:00 : Business Plan Development 101- Dr. Guido Van De Hoven,

10:00- 10:15: Break

10:15- 11:00 Marketing Situation- Bill Glenn

11:00- 11:45: Values, Principles, and Planning, -Jeff Owen

11:45- 1:00: Lunch

12:30 – 1:00 Lunch Speaker- A Lenders Perspective- Mark Williams, Carolina Farm Credit- Sponsor!!

1: 15- 2:10: Current Human Resources and Operations Situations- Cliff Ruth

2:10 – 2:30 Break and Ice Breaker

2:30- 3:15 Paradigms and Change- Video

3:15- 3:45: Whole Farm SWOT Analysis, Jeff Owen

3:45-4:45: Vision, Mission, and Goals,- Jeff Owen

4:45- 5:00: Work Sheets, Homework Assignments, Jeff, Cliff, Bill

June, 29th Agenda

8:00- 8:45: Review Session/Warm up exercises – Jeff, Bill, Cliff

8:45- 9:45: Marketing Strategy- Bill Glenn

9:45-10:00: Break

10:00-10:30: Marketing Continued

10:30- 12:00: Operations/ Financial Strategy- Tammara Cole, Cliff Ruth

12:00-12:45: Lunch

12:45- 1:45: Human Resources Strategy- Cliff Ruth

1:45- 2:00: Break

2:00- 3:30: Evaluating Strategic Alternatives- Charles Safely

3:30-3:45: Worksheets/Discussion

3:45-4:15: Moving Ahead With Your Business Plan- Jeff Owen

4:15-4:30: Local Partners/Resources

4:15- 5:00: Wrap up Session, Prepare Prompting Letters- Evaluations