Current farmers thinking about changing farm enterprises and new farmers interested in starting a farm may lack the skill, knowledge and confidence to investigate their options to start, adapt, and maintain a profitable land-based business. Major issues farmers and potential farmers need to overcome include access to capital, understanding of rules and regulations affecting agriculture operations, and marketing options.
To enhance the business management knowledge, skills, and confidence of new and established farmers, UMaine Extension developed the “So, You Want to Farm in Maine” (SYWTFIM) series. Since 2015, 253 people have participated through face-to-face, video-linked, webinar, live-streamed, Zoom, and archived sessions.
Participants representing part-time farmers, full-time farmers, and prospective farmers attended to learn about agriculture enterprise selection, business planning, record keeping, market research, regulations, and resource identification.
Knowledge change was assessed by a post program evaluation. The 32 participants (13%) who completed an evaluation, reported the following knowledge and understanding gains:
73% learned more about setting goals, risks, and land potential.
73% learned more about insurance and farm financing.
69% learned more about the importance of developing a business plan and the items a farm business plan should include.
69% learned more market research techniques that they could implement to refine the knowledge of markets for their agriculture products.
Overall, participants increased their understanding of the 20 major topics presented by 69%. Farm Service Agency provided $2.7 million in farm direct loans as a result of Maine farmers attending this approved borrower training.
|Conference||2021 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference|