27 May 2009 – Session Three – Assess Your Resources

For those who weren’t able to make it to last Thursday’s session, below are the files that were presented or handed out, as well as other resources that were mentioned in class. We talked a bit more about direct marketing options and had a presentation (below) on financing by Henry Bakker – a beef farmer in the Kawarthas and FarmStart’s Training and Resources Coordinator. If any of you have questions for Henry, you’re welcome to contact him at henry@farmstart.ca or (519) 836 7046 x 105. 

The next Thursday session on June 4th will be our last. We will also have a final farm tour to Tarrah Young’s farm on Saturday June 13th. We are scheduled to be there from 10am to 3pm, but I’m looking into the possibility of visiting Best Baa, a sheep dairy farm, in the afternoon. I will send an update as soon as I hear back from them. 

A reminder about your homework – read through Sections Three (Assess Your Resources) and Four (Make Decisions and Create a Plan) and complete the associated worksheets (#15 – #20).

The goal of Section Four is to reflect on where you’ve come since the start of the course – to answer the question “Is Starting an Agricultural Business Right for You?” and to create an Action Plan for the next 6 to 12 months. At the next session, we’ll take the time to share our reflections from Section Four, talk about next steps, and evaluate the course. 

Below are the resources from Session Three:

1. Handouts

Session 4 agenda

List of tools, equipment and supplies from the DACUM Occupational Profile – to help you think about needed equipment for Worksheet #16

FarmStart’s 2008 list of rental costs if you’re thinking about alternatives to buying equipment (this sheet also includes a great quote by Elliott Coleman). 

An interesting study of equipment and infrastructure needs at different market garden scales.

A handout on different funding sources.  

checklist on what to look for in a farm.

A list of resources for suppliers and prices


2. Presentations

Henry’s power point presentation on Financing. 


3. Resources mentioned in class:

An info sheet on the Environmental Farm Plan.-

The New Farmer Resource Directory created by Everdale’s Farmers Growing Farmers program – a great listing of suppliers, farm associations and much more, with a focus on the Greenbelt. 


Soil surveys of Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada  http://sis.agr.gc.ca/cansis/publications/on/index.html

The site provides soil surveys for the different counties in Ontario to download. Printed maps can also be ordered ($40 black and white, $50 colour, price is reduced to $10 and $20 for additional purchases). 

Demystify your Banker! – Business Development Bank of Canada (BDBC)

A guide for entrepreneurs seeking a loan from their bank: what your loan proposal should contain, what your banker looks for, common bank terms, and tips to increase your chances of success. This guide can be downloaded as a PDF file fromhttp://www.bdc.ca/en/my_project/Projects/articles/Demystify_your_banker.htm?cookie%5Ftest=1

Programs and Services for Ontario Farmers – OMAFRA Factsheet


The following is a summary of programs and services currently available to Ontario farmers that are funded by the Ontario and/or Canadian governments.

Your Guide to Small Business – Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Services

This guide is an information resource to help identify the things one needs to do before, during and after launching a business. The guide includes comprehensive lists of resources, government programs and financing options. The guide can be downloaded as a PDF file from http://www.sbe.gov.on.ca/ontcan/sbe/en/st_yrguide_en.jsp



19 May 2009 – Session TWO – Research the Landscape

Hi everyone, 

Just a reminder that we’re meeting this coming Thursday (May 21st). For those who weren’t able to make the last session, note that we’ve changed rooms and are meeting in Loyola House (follow lane way signs), just inside the ‘Business Entrance’ door.

(Some of the links are too large to upload to here so they are only found in the email you received.)

1. Power point presentation on opportunities and challenges in Ontario agriculture 

2. Summary of Agriculture Statistics for Ontario from 2006 Census 

3. Handout on Regulations_by Ann 

4. Research Resources document I handed out with additional Ontario/Canadian resources to help you with your research on enterprises and markets

5. An excellent economic study of different scale vegetable farms called Grower to Grower: Creating a Livelihood on a Fresh Market Vegetable Farm. I handed out this summary last Thursday but didn’t talk about it. You can also find the entire study at http://www.cias.wisc.edu/crops-and-livestock/report-helps-fresh-market-vegetable-growers-understand-and-share-finances/

I am also including a couple other articles that I didn’t hand out last Thursday but recommend you read through over the next couple weeks:

  • An article by David Cohlmeyer (who Jackie talked about), all about marketing and selecting an enterprise that suits you!
  • A check list of considerations for different direct marketing options 

Also, the following websites are great ones for doing research on different enterprises and more:   

  1. www.attra.org Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) – ATTRA has numerous publications available on their website, covering a range of production and marketing topics. 
  2. http://agalternatives.aers.psu.edu Penn State Agricultural Alternatives – Penn State has many business and enterprise planning resources available online and in print. 
  3. www.agf.gov.bc.ca/busmgmt British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture’s website features business plans and hundreds of enterprise budgets.


28 April 2009 – Session ONE – Assess Yourself

– Download the Explorer worksheets if you want to make copies for your business partner(s) or family members to work on.  

– Just a reminder to check out New England Small Farm Institute’s website, especially their great Resources section! For example, under the topic of Self Assessment you’ll find tools to evaluate your tolerance for risk. 

– Worksheet #4 Farming & Business Skills Assessment is based on the following DACUM Occupational Profile for Small Scale ‘Sustainable’ Farmers 

– a listing of the knowledge and skills required to successfully own and operate a farm. I recommend downloading the ‘Narrative Outline’ (on left hand side).

– Stories and case studies of farmers are a great way to learn! Here are a few: FarmStart’s Sowing Seeds, Reaping Profit is a series of seven case studies featuring innovative Ontario farmers with non-traditional backgrounds. It shares practical production tips, innovative marketing approaches and creative ways to successfully negotiate the myriad challenges that new farmers face in their start-up years and beyond.

Voices of Experience Videos: Good Advice for New Farmers From Cornell Cooperative Extension, this video series of interviews with 12 New York state farmers covers a variety of topics of interest to new farmers. 


Welcome Explorers! 

Schedule for Exploring the New Farm Dream:

Is Starting an Agricultural Business Right For You?


Saturday April 18th, 10:00am-3:00pm

Farm tour: Caitlin Hall and reroot organic CSA 


Thursday April 23rd, 6:00pm-9:00pm

Session One: “So you want to be a farmer?”


Thursday May 7th, 6:00pm-9:00pm

Session Two: Researching agricultural opportunities

(Featuring a Q & A session with Tarrah Young from Green Being Farm)


Saturday May 16th, 10:00am-3:00pm

Farm tour: Lynn Bishop (goats) and Karen Campbell (sheep) from Everdale Organic Farm & Environmental Learning (www.everdale.org)


Thursday May 21st, 6:00pm-9:00pm

Session Three: What can you bring to your enterprise?


Saturday May 30th, 10:00am-noon

Optional Farm Tour: Matchbox Garden & Seed Co. and McVean Incubator Farm. A great opportunity if you’re planning on attending the Dirt on Soil workshop! 


Thursday June 4th, 6:00pm-9:00pm

Session Four: Next steps and evaluation


Saturday June 13th, 10:00am-12:30pm & 1:00PM-4pm 

Farm Tour: Tarrah Young and Green Being Farm then Best Baa Farm Tour

Tagged with:

Comments are closed.