ASAP Connections

Local Food. Strong Farms. Healthy Communities

2017 Conference Workshops


Block One: 9:45–11:15 am

Direct Marketing Strategies: Connecting with Your Customer Base
Whether you are a new farm trying be noticed or a more established producer looking to expand your customer base, targeted marketing strategies will make better use of your time and money. Join this workshop to learn more about engaging customers and take practical steps to creating and implementing a marketing plan.
Molly Nicholie of ASAP
Related handouts: Direct marketing workshop slides

Selling to Restaurants
Selling to restaurants can be a great opportunity to expand your farm business, but it can also be a huge commitment of time and energy. Join two chefs that have a wide range of experience working with farms, locally and in other areas of the county, to learn strategies for building and maintaining relationships and communicating with chefs. Walk away better prepared to meet with buyers during the lunchtime Grower-Buyer meeting.
Chuck Beane of Beane’s Greens , Margaret McGinnis of Fork Mountain Farm, Jen Pearson of Guadalupe Cafe,  Peter Pollay of Posana
Related handouts: Tips for Selling to Restaurants workshop slides

Protecting Your Farm: Legal Tools for Farmers
Attorneys from Ward and Smith, P.A. will provide an engaging presentation and offer insight on legal topics of interest to North Carolina agribusinesses, including entity formation, estate planning, and labor and employment. Learn about the legal tools available to protect your farm through this interactive session.
Zac Lamb, Bill Durr,  and Devon Williams of Ward and Smith P.A. Attorneys at Law
Related handouts: Agribusiness workshop slides

Markets for Medicinal Herbs
The popularity of medicinal herbs continues to grow in the region, but meeting the production and processing requirements for this market is not always straightforward. Join this workshop to learn more about the market potential for fresh and dried herbs from field and forest, as well as the opportunities and challenges of entering this niche market.
Margaret Bloomquist of NCSU Department of Horticultural ScienceCharles and Pamela Leonard of Gentle Harmony Farm
Related handouts: Marketing for Medicinal Herbs workshop slides

Farm Business Planning Strategies
Together we will look at your farm business or idea from an aerial perspective and start creating simple action plans in the four key areas of business planning: operations, research and development, finances, and marketing. This will be a great opportunity to set goals for 2017 and determine how to best spend the rest of the day at the conference making progress.
Jodi Rhoden of Mountain BizWorks, update: Steven Beltram of Balsam Gardens
Related handouts: Basic Business Planning in Action, Business Planning Resources

Lunch Block 11:15 am–1:15 pm

“Ask A Lawyer,” 11:15 am–1 pm
Ward and Smith, P.A. attorneys will be on hand to answer questions on a variety of agribusiness topics in an informal setting.

Grower-Buyer Meeting, 11:15 am–1 pm
Make valuable connections with chefs, distributors, grocers, and institutions to discuss your product availability and their sourcing needs. These brief meetings allow both grower and buyer to make a quick introduction and evaluate whether there is potential for a working relationship. With business cards, products list and pricing in hand, spend a portion of your extended lunch break building farm sales.
Related resources: Wholesale Local Food Guide, Tips for Buyers and Sellers

Preparing Your Farm for Tax Season, 11:15 am–1 pm
Meet with a registered tax preparer to discuss how to document your income, losses, labor, equipment, and more in your 2016 tax return. Bring your questions and advanced tax forms to get help navigating your agribusiness taxes.
Wallace Souther of Franklin Tax Services, Inc

Create Your First Social Media Page, 12–1 pm
Just getting started with social media? Bring your computers and smartphones for a beginners how-to on creating your first social media page. Get hands-on assistance setting up a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account for your farm. We recommend attending the social media marketing workshop in conjunction with this
Katie Murray of CAKE Websites and More, LLC, Daniel Walton, ASAP Communications Intern

Farmers Market Managers Round Table, 12–1 pm
This round table discussion provides an opportunity for market leadership and managers to discuss issues, challenges, and opportunities for the 2017 market season. The roundtable will begin with an initial conversation of budget planning, new vendor orientation, improving SNAP sales, ASAP’s new Pick-a-PAK program, and networking opportunities for markets.
Mike McCreary and David Smiley of ASAP

Block Two: 1:15–2:45 pm

Crafting Your Farm Story
What makes your farm stand out? What about your farm connects with consumers or buyers? No matter where you sell, communicating your farm story is critical for success in local markets and for tapping into consumer demand for authenticity. Learn more about key components to include in your story and work with facilitators to begin crafting or to further hone your own farm story.
Marilyn Ball of 12TwelveMarketing, Anna Eason of Sunburst Trout Farms
Related handouts:  How to Tell Your Story Presentation, This is My Story Exercise

Is Crop Insurance Right For Your Farm?
Thanks to the Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) program and reformed Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), crop insurance is now more available than ever for specialty crop farmers. Learn more about these programs and how to determine if crop insurance is worth the cost and effort for your farm. Recordkeeping best practices and other skills will be discussed as they relate to these programs.
Ben Paynter of Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA), Clif Parker (Agricultural Risk Management Consultant), Martha Caldera of Calderon Produce and the Hispanic Women in Agriculture Cooperative
Related handouts: Recordkeeping Basics, Recordkeeping for Crop Insurance

Accessing Capital to Build Your Farm Business
Loans and debt are often seen as a last resort, but if used strategically and correctly they can also be an important tool for accessing capital to build your business.  Learn more about loan and grant options available to farmers and the “dos and don’ts” of using them to support your farm business. Matt Raker of Mountain BizWorksGary E. Guinn of USDA-Farm Service Agency
Related handouts: FSA Loans, grant and loan information

Introduction to the Business of Niche Meats
This session will provide an introduction to producers contemplating starting a niche meat business to serve local markets. The discussion will include an overview of the market and current trends, an array of marketing options for small to large producers, the challenges and opportunities of niche meat production, an overview of the regulatory environment for red meats and poultry, and tips on how to work with processors. If time permits, we’ll also discuss the importance of full carcass utilization for each species. Workshop sponsored by NC Choices.
Casey McKissick of Foothills Deli and Butchery, Amanda Carter of Cool Hand Meats
Related handouts: Business of Niche Meats handouts

Farm Business Financials
This session is focused on looking at the key costs to consider in pricing your product. We will also walk through the process of determining a break-even point for your business and explore other financial skills and tools to help plan for farm profit.
Barry Gupton of Mountain BizWorks, Steven Beltram of Balsam Gardens
Related handouts: Pricing for Profit

Block Three: 3:00–4:30 pm

Demystifying Social Media and Growing Your Business
Learn how social media can help you grow your business, connect with your customer base, and share your story for free. This introductory workshop will help you better understand the ins and outs of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Learn how to increase engagement with your followers using creative content, captivating visuals, and simple tips and tactics. Plus, hear about one farmer’s firsthand experience growing her business with social media.
Christina Carter of Ten Mile Farm, Katie Murray of CAKE Websites & More, LLC
Related handouts: Social Media 101 Workshop presentation, Social Media 101

Sell More! Improving Sales at Your Farmers Market
How can you improve your sales at market? This workshop will share best practices for selling at market and offer practical tips, recommendations, and resources for increasing sales. Workshop content will focus on three key elements of sales: presentation, information, and invitation.
Mike McCreary and David Smiley of ASAP
Related Resources: Tools for Tailgate markets, Sell More at Farmers Markets Workshop Video 

Lessons Learned in Agritourism
What are the benefits and opportunities in opening your farm to the public? What safety and liability issues should you consider? Hear from regional farmers on their lessons learned from opening their farms to the public, as well as from an insurance professional on what policies and protections to consider for your farm.
Afton Roberts and Nate Darnell of Darnell Farms, Frances Tacy of Franny’s Farm, Tracy Cotton of Morrow Insurance Agency, and Robin Lenner of ASAP
Related Resources: ASAP’s Agritourism and Farm Tour Resources

Considerations for Selling Wholesale
From restaurant accounts to grocery stores, wholesale markets vary widely in their requirements and income potential. This workshop offers an overview of wholesale market opportunities and factors to consider when determining which may be a good fit for your farm. Find out more about the pros and cons of expanding into these markets, tools for finding buyers and marketing your products, and how food safety laws may impact your market opportunities.
Molly Nicholie of ASAP
Related Resources: Guide to Selling Wholesale

Financial Recordkeeping
Where does your money go? Every farm and business needs accurate recordkeeping to keep up with tax requirements and serve as a guide for planning. This workshop will help you set up (or clean up) your farm business books, improve your income and expense tracking, and understand the steps and benefits of transitioning to automated bookkeeping.
John Bonham of Mountain BizWorks


For additional business and marketing resources view our farmer resource directory and past conference presentations on

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