Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Building a Sustainable Agriculture Business

Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) and the Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick, VT announce a 4-session, 12 hour long course for new and experienced farmers and other agricultural entrepreneurs and those looking to enter this field. Topics to be covered include:

* Identifying Values - What's Important to You?

* Farm History and Current Situation - What Have You Got?

* Vision, Mission and Goals - Where Do You Want to Go?

    * Strategic Planning and Evaluation - What Routes Can You Take to Get Where You Want to Go?

    * Present, Implement and Monitor Your Business Plan - Which Route Will You Take and How Will You Check Your Progress Along the Way?

Those who take and complete this intense course will gain the practical knowledge necessary to research and produce a comprehensive business plan for their agriculture related businesses. The course is organized and presented in a straight-forward, no-nonsense approach meant to impart immediate knowledge and skills that can be put to immediate use. For those who have known that they must have a business plan to help ensure the success of their businesses but didn't know where to start and for those who may need to update existing plans, this is the place to start.

The course will be taught by Steve Paddock, VtSBDC Assistant State Director of Agribusiness and John Mandeville, the Director of the Incubator Without Walls program at Lyndon State College. IWoW is a joint initiative between the college and VtSBDC. Steve has had many years of experience in agriculture having operated a commercial and purebred beef cattle ranch, a start-up poultry business and managed a small farm for a Quaker boarding school. He has worked very closely with NOFA and in the field of sustainable agriculture for several years. John has worked as a Business Advisor for VtSBDC and has more than 30 years of management experience in several different industries.

The course will be offered on 4 consecutive Wednesday mornings starting on September 23rd and ending on October 14th. Each session will begin at 9:00 AM and end at noon. All sessions will be held at the office of the Center for an Agricultural Economy at 41 S. Main St., Hardwick, VT.

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The cost for the course including all materials is $450. For those whose family income qualifies them as low to moderate income, there is scholarship money available to bring the cost down to $25. REGISTRATION WILL CLOSE ON SEPTEMBER 11TH. SPACE IS LIMITED AND IMMEDIATE REGISTRATION IS RECOMMENDED.

For more information please contact John Mandeville at or 626-4867 or Steve Paddock at or 388-7953.

To register go to and go to the Training page. Alternatively, please e-mail Heather Gonyaw at

The Center for an Agricultural Economy, operating in Hardwick and surrounding communities, is a Vermont local food hub whose purpose is to ensure that consumers have access to healthy, secure and affordable locally-grown food, and farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs have reliable and efficient access to local and regional markets.

Vermont Small Business Development Center is a partnership program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The support given by the U.S. Small Business Administration through its funding does not constitute an expressed or implied endorsement of any of the co-sponsors' or participants' opinions, products or services.

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