Farm business planning for beginning and aspiring farmers

Farm business planning for beginning and aspiring farmers

Practical Farmers of Iowa to host annual next generation retreat near Boone Feb. 19 and 20.

Anyone who is interested can attend the Practical Farmers of Iowa 2016 next generation retreat for beginning and aspiring farmers. You don’t have to be a PFI member. The two-day workshop will be held from 1 p.m. on Friday, February 19 to 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 20. This event will take place at the Des Moines Y Camp near Boone. Beginning and aspiring farmers of all ages, farm enterprises and farm sizes are welcome to attend, says PFI program director Steve Carlson.

REGISTER NOW: Deadline is Feb. 15 to reserve your spot to attend PFI’s annual next generation retreat to be held Feb. 19 near Boone in central Iowa. Beginning and aspiring farmers of all ages, farm enterprises and farm sizes are welcome to attend and learn more about farm business planning.

The year 2016 marks the eighth year PFI has held this annual retreat. The first next generation retreat took place in 2009, and has been a popular annual event since. Comments from past attendees continue to reinforce the need for this retreat that combines understandable farm-specific business education with networking and fellowship, saying “This workshop was incredibly eye-opening and gave me much more confidence in what I am trying to accomplish.” And “The meals and networking time are always the best parts of PFI events, even when everything else is great, too!”

Improve your farm business planning knowledge and skills
The retreat combines education on farm business planning with time to build relationships with fellow beginning farmers. This year’s retreat will focus on two broad topics: farm financials including financial terms and financial components of a business plan and effective marketing strategies. Craig Chase, ISU Extension agent and co-author of Fearless Farm Finances, will guide participants through basic farm financial documents including how to use them to gauge the performance of their farms and identify areas to improve.

Also, livestock farmer Ethan Book of Crooked Gap Farm near Knoxville, and vegetable grower Jordan Clasen of Grade A Gardens near Des Moines, will each lead the group through their marketing strategies. In addition, one-on-one financial consultations will be available during the workshops.

This workshop is for PFI members and for non-members too
The cost is $20 for PFI members and $40 for non-members. Registration fees include all materials and workshop costs, breakfast and lunch Saturday, snacks throughout, and bunk-style lodging in cabins. Attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to share for the Friday night potluck; PFI will provide the main dish.

To register and find more information, visit or contact Steve Carlson at 515-232-5661 or [email protected]. The deadline for registration is Monday, February 15th.

Support for beginning farmers is a top priority for PFI members. The next generation retreat is part of Practical Farmers' beginning farmer program that provides resources and opportunities to help beginning and aspiring Iowa farmers create viable farm businesses. Other beginning farmer opportunities offered by Practical Farmers include: the Savings Incentive Program, Labor4Learning, Find-A-Farmer, beginning farmer field days, farminars, farm transition work and more.

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