Our two-day workshop, February 11-12, 2016, on basic business planning focused on break-even analysis to determine how long it will take for a new farming or ranching business to start making money. We worked together to answer these questions for each participant: Is there a business in this business? and What $500 investment in the business will enable then business to go to the next level, creating sustaining income? The workshop was funded by USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program. Small-farm agriculture business ideas explored in the workshop included chicken ranching for eggs, vegetable growing, sandwich making, and more. Agricultural and value-added product business plans were developed for direct sales at local farmers’ markets, roadside or parking lot stands, and local restaurants, and for small-batch manufacturing businesses, and for aggregated sales to schools, prisons, and grocery chains.
A few of our notes.
Special guest Hugh Balthrop, founder and owner of Sweet Magnolia Gelato Co. gave an honest, inspiring, and informal talk to our full room of participants. Originally from the Washington, DC area, he founded his growing company in Clarksdale, MS, where he lives with his family. He hires locally and he sources products locally to create southern-inspired flavors for the company’s premium ice cream — and to support local economic development.
Running the numbers and talking frankly about the best choices for moving forward.