Entrepreneurship Course Helps Farmers Plan for Financial Success

EVERETT, Wash. – Farming can be a wonderful lifestyle, but achieving financial success requires that farmers view their operations as a business. Beginning farmers must look at their enterprise as a new business requiring all the careful planning that entails, while existing operations considering diversification or expansion must carefully evaluate how any changes might impact land, labor, capital and management resources.

Washington State University Snohomish County Extension is offering a 12-week “Cultivating Success: Agricultural Entrepreneurship” course to help new and existing farmers gain skills in business planning and direct marketing. The course will also cover dealing with the financial and legal issues unique to farm businesses. The course will be held on Monday evenings beginning Jan. 12, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the University Center at Everett Station, 3201 Smith Ave. in Everett.

This in-depth business-planning course will cover evaluating resources, planning and research, legal and management issues, marketing strategies, budgets and financial statements along with how to cultivate financial resources. During the course, participants will develop a business plan they can literally take to the bank to finance a new enterprise or expand an existing farm business.

Stanwood Angus beef rancher Holly Thompson will facilitate the course. Thompson is a WSU graduate in animal science and agriculture economics. She recently facilitated WSU Skagit County Extension’s “Sustainable Small Farming and Ranching” course and has worked for Northwest Farm Credit Services as a loan officer.

The course will feature a full line-up of local guest speakers including bankers, business professionals, and successful farm owners. In addition, there will be two Saturday field trips to see how other thriving farms are turning business plans into profitable reality.

Class size is limited to 20, so register soon to hold your spot. Cost for the twelve-week course is $250 and pre-registration is required. To register, contact Karie Christensen at 425/338-2400, email klchristen@wsu.edu, or download the form at http://snohomish.wsu.edu/ag/workshops/cultivatingsuccess09.pdf and mail with your check.

For more information on course specifics contact Holly Thompson at hollynthompson@verizon.net.

For more information on the Cultivating Success program, visit www.cultivatingsuccess.org.