2020 Business of Farming Conference workshops are divided by category, including Business Planning, Branding and Marketing, Market Outlets, and Farmers Market Managers. Conference workshop titles and topics are subject to change. Pre-registration for individual workshops is not required, except for the Farmers Market Summit. Check back in early February for presenter bios and a schedule of conference workshops by time block.
Farm Business Planning
This session will help new and early-stage farmers assemble the building blocks necessary to start a farm business with an easy-to-use checklist and resource guide. Ask key questions to determine what kind of operation you want to run and how to set yourself up for success. Explore options for getting started and for moving forward with aspects like financing, insurance, accounting, and more.
Beginning Farm Recordkeeping
Whether you are just getting started or want to improve your existing systems, this session will offer a deep dive into farm financial recordkeeping. Presenters will share best practices that can be tailored to serve your farm’s financial management needs for both planning and cash flow tracking, including a newly developed farm financial recordkeeping app designed with small farms in mind.
Achieve Your Farm Financial Goals
This workshop is designed for farmers who have a working knowledge of their financials and want to create metrics and benchmarks for growth. Learn how to set realistic income goals using cash flow projections, work through a real case study to get a grasp on evaluation tools, and enter the 2020 growing season with confidence.
Navigating Farm Programs, Resources, and Support
With a wide range of resources and support available for new and beginning farmers, it is often difficult to know where to start. Join agricultural and small business professionals to learn about the variety of programs and resources available to farms in the Southern Appalachian region and where to go for additional support.
A Decade of Farming and the Legal Issues You’ll Face Along the Way
No matter how you started your farm, or how many employees you have, you are bound to have questions regarding entity formation, estate planning, and labor and employment. Join attorneys from Ward and Smith, P.A. for an interactive session as they walk through real-life legal issues North Carolina agribusinesses face.
Zac Lamb, Bill Durr, and Devon Williams of Ward and Smith, P.A. Attorneys at Law
Food Safety and Liability for Direct Markets
This session is for small and medium-sized farms that grow produce and will focus on requirements and responsibilities under FSMA’s Produce Safety Rule. We will discuss the importance of becoming familiar with produce safety principles and explore best practices at the farm level and at farmers markets.
Elena Rogers of NC State Extension
Crafting Your Farm Story
Murphy Funkhouser Capps, owner of Kudzu Brands, leads this interactive workshop that will help you craft and confidently tell your farm story in a way that helps you stand out in the market and engage potential customers. Learn the importance of telling a compelling story, the elements of a strong brand, and easy techniques for delivering your story with impact.
Murphy Funkhouser Capps of Kudzu Brands
Developing Your Farm Brand
Your brand is the voice of your farm story. Discuss how to develop or expand the elements of your brand (farm name, mission, tagline, and logo) to effectively communicate the values and story you want to share with your customers. Through discussion and group exercises, begin making a plan for your branding strategy.
Social Media Marketing
Gain practical tools for growing your social media presence without getting overwhelmed or spending a penny. Learn how to maximize your time on social media to effectively share your products and story and turn followers into farm fans and customers. Learn simple tricks for improving your storytelling, customer engagement, and imagery. This workshop is designed for farmers who already have a basic understanding of using social media.
Michael Rayburn of Rayburn Farms, Sarah Hart of ASAP
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Options and Opportunities
This workshop provides an overview of CSA strategies and challenges. A panel of established CSA farmers will offer their insights into CSA models, promotions, and coordination. This workshop is designed to focus on coordination and promotion rather than on growing or production topics.
Diversifying with Value-Added Products
Expanding farm offerings through value-added products offers unique opportunities and challenges for farmers. This workshop offers an overview of questions to consider when exploring value-added options, as well as resources available to farms in the region. A panel of farmers and industry professionals will share their experience, ranging from an on-farm hot sauce operation to larger-scale commercial kitchen.
Selling to Restaurants
Selling to restaurants can be a great opportunity to diversify your farm business, but it can also be a huge commitment of time and energy. Learn from three farms with a depth of experience in selling to restaurants and gain strategies for building and maintaining restaurant sales and relationships. Walk away better prepared to meet with buyers during the lunchtime Grower-Buyer Meeting.
Be Our Guest: Managing Farm Lodging and Rentals
Looking to diversify your farm income with overnight lodging? Farmer presenters will share their experience related to operating successful farm lodging ventures, including tips for marketing your rental, best practices for offering positive farm experiences to your guests, insurance and liability considerations, and resources for opening your farm to overnight guests.
Introduction to Niche Meats
Learn more about challenges and opportunities in niche meat production. The discussion will include an overview of the market for small to large producers, how to develop a pricing strategy, tips for working with processors, and helpful resources.
Lee Menius of NC Choices
Farmers Market Summit
This special two-part session is designed to bring together farmers market managers and leaders to network and share ideas with other markets from across the region. The summit is free for market leadership but requires pre-registration. Contact Mike McCreary to learn more.
The first block will focus on a review of promotional and market support initiatives pursued in 2019, including customer engagement efforts, Pick-A-PAK resources, custom designed materials, infrastructure, vendor training, and social media. Managers will discuss 2020 opportunities including spin-offs of successful promotional efforts and possible multi-market promotions.
The second block will include a roundtable discussion of management and operational issues, challenges, and best practices. Content will be interest-driven and will capture lessons learned from participating managers.
Mike McCreary and David Smiley of ASAP
Farmers Market Fundraising Forum
Forum will offer a panel and group consideration of viable fundraising initiatives. Topics will include traditional sponsorships, creative community partnerships, special events, merchandising, co-branding, and focused donations. Market managers will share specific insights into implementing successful fundraising efforts.
Mike McCreary of ASAP