Agricultural Business Training Program (ABTP)

Offers courses, trainings, workshops and technical assistance to Massachusetts farmers.

MDAR’s Agricultural Business Training Program offers two courses for Massachusetts agricultural enterprises:

  1. Exploring the Small Farm Dream – 5-session course, typically offered on weekday evenings, using curriculum and workbook developed by the New England Small Farm Institute.  For those who are thinking about or in the planning stages of a starting their own farm, including those who are expanding a hobby to an income-generating scale.  This course offers guidance and resources to help make informed decisions about what’s involved with owning your own farm so you can decide whether or not to take the plunge - and how to proceed in the first stages.  Cost per enterprise - $100
  2. **NEW! GROWING YOUR FARM BUSINESS business planning course!**

    MDAR has updated its business planning course curriculum (previously “Tilling the Soil of Opportunity”) to a new, hands-on course to help established farmers develop a business plan and financial projections for their farm business. The course has been updated to meet the current needs of farmers. It  will be offered once per week this winter on Wednesday evenings in early 2019 6pm – 9pm for 7 weeks1/23, 1/30, 2/6, 2/13, (no class 2/20) 2/27, 3/6 and 3/13 (3/20 snow date) at the Bangs Community Center in Amherst. This course covers topics including resource assessment, marketing strategy, financial management, capital planning, risk management, quality of life, and goal setting. The course is taught by professional business planners with years of experience working with Massachusetts farms and guest speakers on current topics such as succession planning and online marketing. The cost is $200 per farm, open to farmers who have been operating a farm business in Massachusetts for at least the 2 prior years.  Applications will be accepted on a first come first serve basis until January 8, 2019 or until the course is filled.

    Farmers that complete a business plan by participating in the 2019 Growing Your Farm Business planning course and then apply and get accepted to the APR Improvement or Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture grant programs for Fiscal Year 2020 will be able to waive the business planning phase of these programs, enabling them to move to the contract phase earlier for a longer timeframe to implement their projects.   

    For more information contact Deanna Levanti at 339-235-0859 OR

    Growing your Farm Business application

Contact: Deanna Levanti,


MDAR’s Agricultural Business Training Program also offers occasional trainings, workshops and technical assistance to respond to identified needs of Massachusetts farmers.

Planning for the Next Successor on your Farm

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources is offering 3 sessions of this workshop across the state for farmers to better understand what is involved in succession planning.  Experts from Land for Good and MDAR will provide tools and resources - including the state's  Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program​- to help you identify the next owner of the farm and take steps towards making the transition. 

 Workshop dates:

  • Boyden Library, 10 Bird St. Foxborough  5:00 – 7:00pm Tues Jan 22, 2019
  • Red Barn @Hampshire College, Amherst 5:00 – 7:00pm  Wed Feb 6, 2019 (snow date 2/7, same place & time)
  • Fidelity Bank, 9 Leominster Connector, Leominster  5:00 – 7:00pm Thurs March 7, 2019 (snow date 3/25, same place & time)

To register for a workshop session email Dorothy Du at – please include which date/location you will attend and how many people will be attending from your farm.  Sponsored by MDAR’s Agricultural Business Training Program.

Recent workshops have included:

  • Massachusetts Farm Succession School – Winter 2018; in partnership with Land for Good, additional professional technical assistance provided to participating Massachusetts farm families by MDAR’s Agricultural Business Training Program. View flyer.
  • Applying Lean Principles to Farm Operations, Nov 2017; hosted by Outlook Farm in Westhampton, presenter Scott Morrison In partnership with Franklin County Community Development Corporation, PVGrows Investment Fund, and Communities Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.
  • Attracting Loyal Customers Through Online Marketing & Social Media, offered to TTS participants in May 2016; presenter Myrna Greenfield, Good Egg Marketing.