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Agricultural Business Training Program (ABTP)

Offers courses, trainings, and workshops to Massachusetts farmers.

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

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 

 

The next Exploring the Small Farm Dream course will be offered in winter 2023 on Thursday evenings from 6:00pm – 9:00pm starting January 12 and ending February 9 in Southborough, MA.  

  • To be considered for an upcoming session, please complete an application (found at link above) and email it to Jessica.Camp@mass.gov.   
  • Or mail it to:
    Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
    Attn: Jessica Camp
    138 Memorial Ave, Suite 42
    West Springfield, MA 01089

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.  If your application is approved and you commit to attending on the scheduled dates, you will then need to mail a check for $100 made out to “Commonwealth of Massachusetts” to the MDAR W. Springfield office to confirm your spot. 

For more information about the Exploring the Small Farm Dream course, contact Jessica Camp at 617-823-0871 or Jessica.Camp@mass.gov

 

Growing Your Farm Business Planning Course

Tuesdays from 5:30 – 8:30pm, January 17 – March 14, 2023 
Southborough, MA 

A hands-on course to help established farmers develop a business plan and financial projections for their farm business. This course covers topics including resource assessment, marketing strategy, financial management, 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 $150 per farm. Enrollment is open to farmers who have been operating a farm business in Massachusetts for at least the two prior years. Enrolled farmers will be expected to attend all 8 weekly classes to be held in-person on Tuesday evenings starting January 17 and ending March 14 (with one vacation week on February 21) at MDAR's office in Southborough, MA. 

Farmers that complete a business plan by participating in the Growing Your Farm business planning course and then apply and get accepted to MDAR’s APR Improvement Program or Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture may be able to waive the business planning phase of these programs, enabling them to move to the contract phase earlier to start implementing their projects.   

The Growing Your Farm business planning course has been approved as a certified USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) borrower training for financial management.  

In order to be considered for an upcoming course, please complete an application found here: Growing Your Farm application  and email it to Diego.Irizarry-Gerould@mass.gov. 

Or mail it to: 
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources 
Attn: Diego Irizarry-Gerould 
138 Memorial Ave, Suite 42 
West Springfield, MA 01089 

 

Applications for this session will be accepted until December 2 or until the course is full.  For more information about the Growing Your Farm Business Planning course, contact Diego Irizarry-Gerould at 857-248-1671.

Previous Workshops

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

  • Massachusetts Farm Succession School – Winter 2018 & 2022; in partnership with Land for Good, additional professional technical assistance provided to participating Massachusetts farm families by MDAR’s Agricultural Business Training Program.
  • Planning for the Next Successor on your Farm - Winter 2019; Experts from MDAR and Land for Good provided tools and resources - including the state's  Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program​- to help farmers identify the next owner of the farm and take steps towards making the transition. 
  • 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.
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