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Maine Farmland Trust offers farm business planning program

Deadlines near for program in two 'tracks'
Nov 16, 2019

Belfast — Farming for Wholesale, a program of Maine Farmland Trust, helps farmers participate in, or scale up for, wholesale markets. The program combines ongoing farm business planning assistance with day-long workshops and grant opportunities.

This is the fifth year the program has operated. Farmers can choose from two “tracks,” depending on experience level and farm business goals.

The 101 track is for experienced farmers who currently sell wholesale and want to expand, and for farmers who want to start selling to wholesale markets.

Drawing on a panel of business experts from around the state, as well as other growers, participants will uncover the story their financial records are telling them, and develop their ability to talk with potential wholesale buyers about their products.

During the program, farmers will participate in three day-long workshops, receive up to 20 hours of business planning assistance and receive a $1,000 seed grant upon completion of the program.

This year, there are two versions of this workshop series: the Portland cohort, for all producers, and the Creamery cohort, focused on added-value dairy production, in Orono. Register by Dec. 23.

The 201 track is for experienced farmers who currently serve wholesale accounts and are ready to scale up significantly. This is a highly selective, competitive application program.

If selected, participants will receive up to 50 hours of business planning assistance, tailored to fit their goals and have the option to continue technical assistance for a second year with up to an additional 50 hours of assistance. At course conclusion, participants will have the opportunity to submit their scaled-up business plan to compete for an Implementation Grant of up to $50,000. Apply by Dec. 1.

Farmers comment

Christelle McKee of Copper Tail Farm said the wholesale program gave her "the tools and skills I needed to look at my numbers in ways I never had thought to do previously. It really made me look at my individual enterprises and determine what was making, or losing money. The one-on-one technical assistance I received was invaluable.”

Edie Johnston of Eldertide Farm and Maine Medicinals said, “I’ve put my time with Wholesale 101 on my list of the top 10 things I’ve done to ensure Eldertide and Maine Medicinals’ success.”

For more information, and to register or apply for these workshops, visit mainefarmlandtrust.org/workshops.

Questions about the workshops can be directed to catherine@mainefarmlandtrust.org or call the MFT office, 338-6575.

 

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