Build Your Small Farm or Value Added Ag Business Plan

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering a program that helps women interested in starting or expanding a value added ag businesses. The course begins Friday, February 3, 2017, in Ames.  Lacy Mason, past program participant, carved out a new hops business on her family’s corn and soybean farm.

Women Planning Value Added Ag Businesses is a six-week course designed to help women interested in starting or expanding local foods, small-scale, niche, direct marketing, agritourism or other value added ag businesses. The course is being offered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Women, Food and Agriculture Network for $75. Registration is currently open here.

Throughout the program, participants will hear from local guest speakers ranging from women managing their own value added agriculture businesses to USDA agency professionals. Speakers include Kristine Tidgren, Iowa State University Center for Ag Law and Taxation Attorney, on legal considerations for farm and food businesses; Andy Hunziker, Farm Service Agency Farm Loan Manager, on loan programs and other Farm Bill programs that can benefit value added ag businesses; and Ash Bruxvoort, WFAN's Communications Coordinator, on direct marketing tools and tips.

Women will tour local value added ag businesses and the Iowa State University Food Science Department during the fifth class session. Nicole Jonas, Red Granite Farm, is a past participant in this program and now she will host the class on her farm. Jonas will discuss how she grew her ornamental horticulture and vegetable business. The class will also visit the food product development, nutrition and labeling lab at Iowa State University. All women from previous value added ag business planning courses are invited to join the new class for the tour.

Participants will learn about a key area of business planning each week including the business overview and mission, 2) financial position and projections, 3) marketing plan, 4) personnel and management team, and 5) production plans. The course instructor, Madeline Schultz, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Program Manager, will guide women in developing and documenting their ideas. At the end of the six weeks, participants will each have the foundations of their own written plan for business start-up, expansion, or production changes. The class offers women a great opportunity to meet others who have similar goals and experiences.

https://youtu.be/SJ6WJx1DzFw

According to Madeline Schultz, ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Program Manager, Women Planning Value Added Ag Businesses participants will define their business goals, manage production risks, choose marketing methods, design a personnel plan, and gather financial information, while establishing a professional network.

“Our goal is to provide education that helps women increase business success,” Schultz says. “Participants will create a business strategy and gain the confidence to grow their businesses.”

Women Planning Value Added Ag Businesses will be held at the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, 2055 Ironwood Court, in Ames, Iowa. The six-session course runs Friday, February 3, 2017 thru March 10, 2017. Lunch will be served at noon and the program will be held from 12:30 to 4:30 pm. For more information, contact the Story County Extension Office at 515-382-6551 or e-mail aboelman@iastate.edu.

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