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.
Building My Sustainable Farm/Ranch Business
The Sustainable Farm and Ranch Business 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.
Tuesday 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.
- 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 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 Sustainable Farm Business Program:
Farmers and Ranchers, experienced or inexperienced, will:
- Develop new networks in the local area with other farmers and ranchers who can serve as support and resources as the class participants learn together.
- Learn how to develop a workable production plan for their operation.
- Learn how to develop a viable marketing plan for their operation and where to access current, up to date resource and market survey information.
- Learn how ag financing works and what options best suit their needs and are available to them.
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.
- The opportunity to receive Food Safety Training for a Colorado Cottage Food Producers Certificate.