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Conference Name Female Producers Farming Entrepreneurially for Better Risk Management

Winifred McGee


The character of agriculture in the 21st Century differs from that of preceding eras, due to an expanded marketplace (with contracts, direct marketing and global competition), more technology and complexity in production, increasing impact of regulations, and a series of economic roller coasters. Business plans – once the exception – have now become the rule. In his Internet column, Business and Economy Trends, Dr. David Kohl (professor emeritus at Virginia Tech) stated that 90% of lenders require a written plan to make a loan, while less than 20% of farmers have written plans and of those, ¼ don’t use them. Because business plans include goals and strategies for business risk management and sustainability, a written document is needed not just when loan or investment funding is sought, but to provide management support on a daily basis. The USDA RMA project, Entrepreneurial Farm Management Strategies for Women Farmers and New and Beginning Producers in the Raleigh, NC RMA Region, is an educational program that instructs farmers to be proactive in business risk management to increase profitability, sustainability, and quality of life in agriculture. In addition to teaching generic proactive farm management strategies, the program stresses the importance of having a written plan and complete, usable farm financial records; anticipation and mitigation of risks are stressed. This poster session will provide an overview of the educational content of the project, a profile of the audiences reached, and the program impact data -- specific risk management strategies advocated and the adoption rates reported by participants.