Take a look back at the workshops and activities offered at the 2015 Business of Farming Conference:
- Agritourism: Opportunities and Considerations for Opening Your Farm to the Public
- Adding Value to Your Farm Products – Processing, Packing and Pricing
- Planning for Farm Food Safety: Navigating the GAP Audit and Beyond
- The Whole Hog: Strategies for Utilization, Working with your Butcher, Pricing and Marketing
Strategies for Selling to Restaurants
Explore whether selling to restaurants is right for your farm. Learn from a successful relationship what it takes to earn and keep restaurant customers. With a focus on produce—they will share their experiences and help you understand the complex restaurant-farmer relationship. Topics will include marketing strategies, building relationships, and product and production requirements. Walk away better prepared to meet with buyers during the lunchtime Grower-Buyers meeting.
Philip Bollhoefer of Omni Grove Park Inn, Anna & Paul Littman of Ivy Creek Family Farm, Dawn Rhudy of Mountain Memories Farm, and Lee Seabrook of ASAP
Risk Management Options: Crop Insurance and Accessing Credit
The 2014 Farm Bill brought a variety of changes and opportunities for both small and mid-sized farmers. This workshop is designed to offer an overview of what it means to manage risk for your farm and options for both beginning and experienced farmers. Area experts will help you navigate crop insurance choices and opportunities for accessing credit, offering the information and tools you need to determine the best options for your farm.
James Robison of Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), Charles Zink of USDA Farm Service Agency, and Molly Nicholie of ASAP
Welcoming Visitors to Your Farm
What are the benefits and opportunities for opening your farm to the public? What safety and liability issues must you consider? This session will explore the questions to consider when determining if agritourism is right for your farm and what resources and tools are available.
Annie Baggett of North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and Robin Lenner of ASAP
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. Content will focus on three key elements of sales: presentation, information, and invitation.
Mike McCreary of ASAP
Basic Business Planning in Action
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 2015 and will help you determine how to best spend the rest of the day at the conference in order to start making progress.
Annie Price of Birds Eye Business Planning & Consulting
Considerations for Selling Wholesale
Determining if wholesale markets are right for your farm is more involved that just having enough product. This workshop offers an overview of the different types of wholesale markets, requirements, and factors that effect pricing. Find out more about market opportunities, tools for marketing and finding buyers, general expectations, and questions to consider when determining which wholesale markets are a good match for your farm.
Craig Mauney of NC Cooperative Extension, and Molly Nicholie and Katie Descieux of ASAP
Session sponsor: Mountain Food Products
The Basics of Farm Leases
This workshop will cover the basic requirements for leases including parties, required terms and documents. Trying to find land to start a farm operation? Interested in expanding your acreage by leasing land? This session will cover important legal elements to consider when negotiating a contract to lease land. We’ll discuss the benefits of different lease structures (long-term vs. short term, etc.), termination of leases, enforcement of lease provisions, formation and use of business entities, and the use of leases in farm transition and estate planning.
Annette Hiatt of The Land Loss Prevention Project
Becoming Social Media Savvy
Wonder how many times a day to post to Facebook or Twitter? Curious about what content to include in your e-newsletter? Unsure if you should jump on the Pinterest bandwagon? This beginning-intermediate workshop will answer your questions and cover the who, what, when, where, and why of social media and e-newsletters. Learn the ins and outs from ASAP’s former communications manager and a local farmer and business owner who is using social media websites and e-newsletters to her advantage.
Tara Jensen of Smoke Signals and Paper Crane Farm, Maggie Cramer, freelance writer, editor, and communications specialist
Accepting SNAP/EBT at Your Farmers Market
Learn how to implement SNAP access at your market. Topics include program options, resources, and sustainability with special attention given to individual market circumstances. Presentation will also address obstacles to access and important elements for a SNAP-friendly market.
Mike McCreary of ASAP
Farm Business Financials
This session is focused on looking at the key costs to consider in pricing for your product. We will also walk through the process of determining a break-even point for your business and explore what to look at more closely in order to be able to generate a profit in the future.
Barry Gupton of Birds Eye Business Planning & Consulting
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Options and Opportunities
This workshop provides an overview of CSA models and challenges. A panel of experienced CSA farmers will offer information and insights on CSA program options, promotion, and coordination. Workshop participants will be encouraged to ask questions and share challenges. Note: Content is designed to focus on coordination and promotion rather than on growing or production topics.
Steven Beltram and Becca Nestler of Balsam Gardens, Jamie Davis of A Way of Life Farm, and Christina Carter of Ten Mile Farm
Session sponsor: MightyGrow
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, and array of marketing options for small to large producers, challenges and opportunities of niche meat production, an overview of the regulatory environment for red meats and poultry as well as some tips on how to work with processors. If time permits, we’ll also discuss the importance of full carcass utilization for each species.
Casey McKissick of Foothills Deli and Butchery and Amanda Carter of Foothills Pilot Plant and Spirit Level Farm
Managing Labor: Interns, Apprentices, Hired Labor, and more.
Are you interested in hiring workers on your farm but aren’t sure where to start or how to manage them? Where do you find out about hiring interns or employees and what do experienced farmers say about using them effectively? Hear from three knowledgeable local growers about different ways of structuring labor on the farm! We’ll also discuss legal resources, hiring, managing, employee retention, and record keeping.
Cameron Farlow of Organic Growers School, Tom Elmore of Thatchmore Farms, Cedar Johnson of Goldfinch Gardens, and William Shelton of Shelton Family Farm
Connecting with Community
Hear how two farmers and one farmer cooperative have connected with community through events, on-farm stores, cooking classes, farm tours, children’s activities and more. Learn why the farmers include a community focus in their business plan and how the activities contribute to their bottom line and their quality of life.
Amos Nidiffer of Trosly Farm, Christina Newhouse of MIGHTY Greens and Southern Appalachian Family Farms, and Anna Littman of ASAP and Ivy Creek Family Farm
Marketing Your Farmers Market
Workshop provides an overview of effective marketing, outreach, promotion, and social media strategies to attract more customers and increase market sales. Content includes specific examples based on practical marketing and promotional efforts. Attention will be given to options that are simple, direct, and low-cost.
Mike McCreary of ASAP
Record Keeping Basics for the Farm
Where does your money go? Every farm and business needs accurate record keeping to be able to keep up with tax requirements and to help serve as a guide in planning for the future. This workshop will help you to set up (or clean up) your farm business books and improve your income and expense tracking. We will also discuss the benefits, and steps to take, in transitioning to automated bookkeeping.
Barry Gupton of Birds Eye Business Planning & Consulting and Danielle Hutchison of New Sprout Organic Farms
Direct Marketing Strategies
You may grow a great product, but it’s not always easy to find customers. Whether you’re isolated in a rural area with limited local markets or trying to sell farm products in a competitive area, you need a creative approach! In this workshop, you’ll learn how to apply classic marketing thinking to the local food and farm customer base. Define your niche … and reach the people! Learn practical, doable marketing steps from both the presenter and your fellow attendees.
Shiloh Avery of Tumbling Shoals Farm and Hollis Wild of ASAP
Grower-Buyer Meetings and Consulting:
Meet with restaurant owners, chefs, distributors, and grocers to discuss your products and the possibility of a match. Meetings are typically 15-20 minutes long, allowing for a brief time to make introductions, exchange business information, and possibly make a match between what you produce and what each buyer needs. There are no promises made and no contracts signed on site; it’s just a chance for you to open a door and follow up later. For those getting started this is a great opportunity to learn about individual buyer requirements.
Take advantage of the opportunity to meet with a variety of business, marketing, and media professionals. Areas of support include legal, business, marketing, and media consulting.
Participating consultants include:
- Appalachian Grown branding – Jaclyn Mace of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
- Business planning – Annie Price, Carol Lynne Jackson of Barry Gupton of Birds Eye Business Planning and Consulting
- Food safety and market requirements – Craig Mauney of NC Cooperative Extension – Henderson County Center
- Land lease agreements – Annette Hiatt of Land Loss Prevention Project
- Loans and access to capital – Kelly Springs, Jeanie Setser, and Gary Guinn of USDA Farm Service Agency
- Web, print and design – Alisa Carswell of Lucky Design 7
- Risk management – James Robinson of Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI)
- Social media – Maggie Cramer, writing, editing, and communications
- SNAP/EBT at market – Mike McCreary of ASAP
Ask a Lawyer:
Multiple lawyers from Ward and Smith, P.A. will also be on hand with varying specialties and types of practice. Tap into their knowledge and the opportunity to get free legal advice.
Thank you to our conference sponsors who helped make the 2015 conference possible!
|Mountain Food Products|
|NC Choices||Mighty Grow|
We’d also like to thank our conference funders!