; North Carolina Farm School Equipping Beginning Farmers to Succeed | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name North Carolina Farm School Equipping Beginning Farmers to Succeed

S. Gary Bullen


North Carolina Farm School (NCFS) is a pilot program that operated in 2014 and 2015. It is a unique seven month educational program that trains beginning and transitioning farmers with a strong commitment to operate successful sustainable farms. The school offers eight business planning seminars which give farmers the tools to create a viable business plans. Each session covers a new business topic such as criteria for selecting new enterprises, estimating start-up cost, marketing fundamentals, financial statement development, and risk management. Each month one three hour business planning session gives farmers the tools to create a new or revised business plan for an economically sustainable farm enterprise. Educators and farmer mentors work directly with farmers outside of class through online business planning tools and one on one meetings. This allows farmers to work on their plan in between the monthly business sessions with support from experienced professionals.

Our program also connects business principles with production practices with on farm visits. NCFS accompanies business sessions each month with six, day-long field trips at working farms led by innovative experienced farmers. The farm visits are planned to reinforce the business sessions and the business planning sessions incorporate the lessons learned from the farm visits.

The NCFS is offered in a cluster of four to six counties through extension agents with a proven track record. Past farm school participants are integrated into the future schools as speakers, field day host and serve as mentors for new participants.

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