Digging into Farming: Planning Your New Farm Business




The Digging into Farming Course is intended for prospective farmers who are ready to stop dreaming and start developing realistic goals, clarify their farm vision, evaluate their options, and to begin identifying the resources and knowledge they already have and those they need to acquire. You will come out of this course with a greater understanding of the different assets, skills and resources needed to launch a new farm business, access to a range of available resources and learning opportunities, a broader peer group, as well as connections to local and technical coaches, mentors and advisors.

Digging Into Farming is a prerequisite course for those entering the Start -Up Farm program and designed to follow FarmStart’s Exploring Your New Farm Dream course, where aspiring farmers are introduced to the opportunities and realities of farming and are asked to answer the question “Is Starting an Agricultural Business Right for Me?”

Digging into Farming Kitchener 2015

When: November 28 & 29th
Time:  10am to 3:30pm
Where:  The Family Centre, 65 Hanson Ave, Kitchener.  View map. 
Cost:  $200 per person/$360 per farming pair
Facilitator:   Tarrah Young
Sponsored by AMI
Registration Survey must be completed to register


Digging into Farming Sudbury 2016

When: January  9 & 16th
Time:  10am to 3:30pm
Where: Contact North Learning Centre, 410 Falconbridge Rd, Sudbury.  View map.
Cost:  $200 $90 per person/$360 $170 per farming pair
Lunch: You can pack your own or opt in for a $20 catered local lunch
Facilitator:   Allison Muckle
Sponsored by AMI
Northern participants benefit from a 55% discount on the course fee thanks to funding contributions from FedNor and Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC)
Registration Survey must be completed to register


Digging into Farming Timmins 2016

When: January  9 & 16th
Time:  10am to 3:30pm
Where: Timmins Economic Development Corporation boardroom at 12 Elm Street South, Timmins.  View map.
Cost:  $200 $40 per person
Lunch: included
Facilitator: Allison Muckle of Rowantree Farms and Antoine Vezina (Timmins Economic Development Corporation)

This course in Timmins will be held partially via video conference from Sudbury, where Allison Muckle of Rowantree Farms will be facilitating. Antoine Vezina will be the on-site facilitator in Timmins and he will lead discussions and contribute local content. Since this is a pilot effort to bring FarmStart programming to Northern Ontario with a combination of remote facilitation and local resources, the cost is reduced.  Thank you to our partners for making this possible: the Timmins Economic Development Corporation, NORDIK Institute at Algoma University, FedNor and Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). 
Registration Survey must be completed to register


Digging into Farming Chatham-Kent / Essex 2016

When: February 6 & 13th
Time:  10am to 3:30pm
Where: The Atlas Tube Centre Boardroom at 447 Renaud Line, Lakeshore.
Cost:  $200 per person/$360 per farming pair
Facilitator:   Joe Grootenboer of River Bell Market Garden
Registration Survey must be completed to register

For more information:  contact Margaret Graves, Farm Viability Program Coordinator at margaret @farmstart.ca.


This course is right for you if:

  • You are a new farmer who is actively committed to farming as a business and are looking for support in starting to plan your farm businesses and take those first steps.
  • You would answer yes to most of the following questions

Do you feel that you:

  • Have the personal traits and skills required for farming?
  • Have the time, energy and commitment to run a farm business?
  • Understand the financial risks and rewards of farming?
  • Understand the capital investment you might need to make?
  • Are aware of the regulatory environment that you would be working in?
  • Know how to gain the necessary on-farm experience you may need?

What to Expect

Digging Into Farming is a 2-day course facilitated by farmers who have gone through a similar process of starting their own farm business. Key take-away lessons or tools that past participants have received include:

  • a simple framework for understanding farm business planning.
  • sharing lessons learned by experienced farmer facilitators and  panelists.
  • representatives in the banking and accounting sector, speak to questions of financing, taxation and business structure.
  • completing an online Action Plan.
  •  access to a comprehensive website of business planning resources for new farmers.
  • Note: you will not prepare a business plan during the course, however you will come out of the course prepared to do this.

Course outline

Day One

  1. Farm Foundations (business goals)
  2. Choosing Farm Products & Services
  3. Business Planning
  4. Marketing
  5. Production

Day Two

  1. Human Resources
  2. Farmland
  3. Business Start-up
  4. Financing Your Business
  5. Financial Management (including key financial documents i.e cash flow, income statement, statement of net worth)
  6. Action Plan

 What past participants have said about Digging Into Farming

 “Although I already have a background in farming, this course provided resources which I did not know were out there to help me set my goals in motion.”

 “Great information from The Scotia Bank rep and BDO rep, and the farmer panel was fantastic!”

 “It gave me more information than I could have hoped for, and helped me to focus on what to do next.” “Exceeded expectations on the amount of information shared.”




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