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Urban Ag

Recognizing the movement towards local food and local food production, Jefferson County Extension has participated in a Colorado State University Extension regional Urban Agriculture effort to provide research-based information and education on this topic.

Urban agriculture has become an important political priority across the Front Range and Metro Denver. Several cities, including Wheat Ridge, Denver and Arvada, have recently updated their land use and/or zoning regulations to further encourage and promote urban agriculture.

For additional resources:

 Colorado Building Farmers

Metro Area Building Farmers Course

The Principles of Business Planning and Management

Sponsored by:

Jefferson County Extension 100 Year Anniversary logo         Denver Botanic Gardens Logo

The Principles of Business Planning and Management program is a series of evening classes designed to help New Farmers and Ranchers explore farming as a business and provide Intermediate and Experienced Farmers and Ranchers with tools and ideas to refine and enhance their business management, production, and marketing skills.

Participants in Principles of Business Planning and Management classes will:

  • Identify their business short term and long-term goals, and a vision/mission statement for the business
  • List clear action items for each short term and long-term goal
  • Explain how personal and customer values influence their business plan
  • Perform SWOT analysis to identify potential marketing niche, customer base, location, etc.
  • Develop a strategic market position and strategy consistent with the mission developed in the business plan
  • Create a marketing plan that includes product, pricing, placement and promotion goals and strategiesA picture of a garden
  • Identify the 3 Cs (customers, costs and competition) and the 4 Ps (product, pricing, placement and promotion) within a strategic marketing plan
  • Understand the importance of record-keeping for decision making in business planning, including production and marketing
  • Describe the differences between variable and fixed costs
  • Develop a basic production plan including a calendar, estimated total output of product per market channel, and monthly labor estimates
  • Estimate projected revenue by market channel
  • Estimate net return to management (pay yourself)
  • Understand labor as a financial risk factor (cost, source, cost of management)
  • Identify record-keeping tools (software, etc.) and strategies (when and how to input data, and how to use data to improve business management)
  • Describe how marketing plan and cost estimates link to production plan
  • Understand the need for basic financial statements and describe how they are used.
  • Awareness of compliance with Cottage Food Law.

Two baby goats.We will accomplish this through a series of 8 sessions held on Wednesday evenings from 5:30-8:30 p.m., January 17-March 6 at the CSU Extension Office at 15200 W. 6th Avenue, Golden, 80401 with Saturday, March 17 Business Plan Presentations (participation required to graduate) and Saturday, March 24 Farm Tours.

Wednesday evening sessions will begin with a catered dinner over which we will have table topic networking sessions, followed by a presentation from an industry professional/s and/or working farmer/s.  Time will be set aside for assistance with business plan assignments and questions on material presented in class.

Class Objectives:

  • To educate you on what is required to create and maintain a financially sustainable farm business
  • To educate you on the potential pit falls and the best practices to plan for and avoid them
  • To build farmer capacity and community in the Denver Metro Area

All students will be required to create a farm business plan that includes a marketing plan and enterprise cost estimates.  Business plans will be presented on March 17th and will provide opportunity for feedback from your class peers and instructors, advisory committee members and staff.  Certificate of completion will be presented to all students completing this assignment.

Benefits of the Building Farmers Program

Farmers and ranchers experienced or inexperienced, will develop new networks in their local area for:

  • Inputs (land, adapted or leased equipment, seed, transplants, irrigation equipment, credit, etc.Picture of house and garden.
  • Processing and handling (livestock meat packing, post-harvest field handling, transporting products, etc.)
  • Marketing outlets (how to access and merchandise for farmers’ markets how to manage a CSA, how to develop relationships with restaurants, etc.
  • Other farmers and ranchers who can serve as resources and support as the participants learn together.

The program builds capacity by:

  • Offering business development and management training to farmers and ranchers who are interested in transitioning into new or alternative crops and accessing markets that involve selling their products and services directly to consumers/buyers.
  • Providing an agricultural business planning foundation for new and future farmers and ranchers.

Completing the program provides participants with:

  • A business plan or the framework for a plan, complete with feedback from peers, industry leaders and more experienced farmers. The plan helps producers organize their mission and goals and objectives with their production and marketing plans.  Having a business plan also helps potential lenders understand your business model and expected costs and returns.
  • Opportunities for experiential learning (internships and mentorships with regular contact with experienced farmer-mentors throughout one production season) and possibly internships where they can learn more about direct market farming/ranching through on the job experience.

Tuition is $350 and includes meals.

Applicants should complete the 2017 Building Farmers Application and return to: Patti O’Neal, Metro Building Farmers Coordinator, 15200 W. 6th Avenue Pkwy, Golden, Colorado 80401 Or email to:

Deadline for Applications:  Monday, January 1, 2018

For additional information: