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Growing for Profit

This Fast Track series focuses on the business of farming and will feature a wide variety of topics. The goal of this series is to provide agricultural producers of all sizes, industries and stages of growth the tools to succeed at the business of farming. Whether a prospective small farmer or an established family farm evaluating growth this series has something to offer. Topics include developing a business plan for your operation, legal and tax structures suited for farming, tax basics, regulations, and financing the agricultural enterprise.

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Succession Planning

There is a great article in the December issue of Greenhouse Grower that covers the issue of succession planning and family farms.  This is often a tough issue to tackle as a family, but the article does a good job giving you the story of 2 families that have travelled down this road successfully.  The best takeaways are the “Secrets to Succession” listed by both families.

Your local Small Business Development Center consultant can also help you with succession planning.  Find an SBDC center near you to make an appointment.

Live Oak Farmer’s Market Receives USDA Grant


The Live Oak Farmer’s Market just received a USDA grant to boost agribusiness in our area. The Small Business Development Center is excited to be involved with helping vendors grow their agribusiness.

Dr. McCoy’s Tricorder Now Available for Produce Growers

I grew up watching Star Trek.  I was always intrigued by the gadgetry.  The show had communicators, phasers, tractor beams and a transporter room!  Many of these futuristic ideas have become reality in our time.  The produce grower can now utilize the idea of Dr. McCoy’s Tricorder on his produce!  Felix Instruments has introduced a produce meter that instantly measures dry matter, Brix, moisture content, and color in produce!  The Dutch have a proverb that says: “Meten is Weten.”  It means: “Measuring is Knowing.”  Now the produce industry has a new tool that will provide objective and quantitative data to the grower.  This will help the grower as he strives to increase the quality and marketability of his produce.  Live Long and Prosper!


Revenue Growth Ideas for Farmers and Growers

There are a couple of good articles in The American Grower publication that cover different ideas for increasing farm revenue.  There is a very good article on U-pick farming that covers almost every aspect of this strategy, including what products work best and what crops to avoid.  One online comment cautioned about lawsuit liability.  The new Florida Agritourism Law has limited this liability considerably for Florida Farmers.  The other article covers more general marketing tips that are very valuable and often forgotten.  Your local Small Business Development Center consultant can help you further develop your marketing plan or evaluate new streams of revenue as you seek to grow your Agribusiness.

Farm to School Fact Sheets

Check out these short and sweet Farm to School Fact Sheets  ==>>

Farming Smart – Saving Money

This is a great article and video explaining the benefit of smart farming and using the data and tools at your disposal to save money and decrease chemical use when it is not needed or beneficiary.  An old Dutch proverb says: “Meten is Weten” which means: “Measuring is Knowing”  This is an example of measuring, knowing, adjusting and saving.


How to Secure a Farm Loan

There is a good article this month in the  Florida Grower about securing a farm loan.  Remember that your Small Business Development Center consultants can help you develop your Business Plan and financial projections in preparation for your meeting with the loan officer.

Meet us at the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference

The purpose of the annual Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference is to provide farmers with up-to-date, research-based, in-depth educational information. The conference aims to facilitate solutions-based collaboration by encouraging networking and an open dialog among members of Florida’s small farms community.  Attendees participate in workshops, hands-on demonstrations, and organized networking activities, enabling them to share their knowledge while interacting with peers from all over the state.

Visit the  Florida SBDC at UNF at Booth Number: 308.  Come meet Mark Yarick!   Mark has been hired as a consultant to work with businesses in Suwannee and surrounding counties. Mark will lead the FSBDC efforts in growing opportunities in Agribusiness by providing one-on-one consulting, training and information to help business owners make sound decisions and to assist potential owners in getting started on the right foot.

The conference takes place August 1-2 in Kissimmee, FL.



USDA Announces New Support for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers


USDA Announces New Support for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers


Department Implementing New Farm Bill Programs, Unveiling New Centralized Online Resource to Support Next Generation of Farmers


DAVIS, Calif., June 23, 2014 – U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced the implementation of new Farm Bill measures and other policy changes to improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers. Harden also unveiled, a new website that will provide a centralized, one-stop resource where beginning farmers and ranchers can explore the variety of USDA initiatives designed to help them succeed.

“New and beginning farmers are the future of American agriculture,” said Deputy Secretary Harden. “The average age of an American farmer is 58 and rising, so we must help new farmers get started if America is going to continue feeding the world and maintain a strong agriculture economy. The new policies announced today will help give beginning farmers the financial security they need to succeed. Our new online tool will provide one-stop shopping for beginning farmers to learn more about accessing USDA services that can help their operations thrive.”

USDA’s New Farmers website has in depth information for new farmers and ranchers, including: how to increase access to land and capital; build new market opportunities; participate in conservation opportunities; select and use the right risk management tools; and access USDA education, and technical support programs. These issues have been identified as top priorities by new farmers. The website will also feature instructive case studies about beginning farmers who have successfully utilized USDA resources to start or expand their business operations.

Today’s policy announcements in support of beginning farmers and ranchers include:

  • Waiving service fees for new and beginning farmers or ranchers to enroll in the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for the 2014 crop year. NAP provides risk management tools to farmers who grow crops for which there is no crop insurance product. Under this waiver, announced via an official notice (PDF, 171KB) to Farm Service Agency offices, farmers and ranchers whom already enrolled in NAP for the 2014 crop year are eligible for a service fee refund.
  • Eliminating payment reductions under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for new and beginning farmers which will allow routine, prescribed, and emergency grazing outside the primary nesting season on enrolled land consistent with approved conservation plans. Previously, farmers and ranchers grazing on CRP land were subject to a reduction in CRP payments of up to 25 percent. Waiving these reductions for new and beginning farmers will provide extra financial support during times of emergency like drought and other natural disasters.
  • Increasing payment rates to beginning farmers and ranchers under Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) (PDF, 288KB). Under this provision, beginning and farmers can claim up 90 percent of losses for lost livestock, such as bees, under ELAP. This is a fifty percent increase over previously available payment amounts to new and beginning farmers.

In the near future, USDA will also announce additional crop insurance program changes for beginning farmers and ranchers – including discounted premiums, waiver of administrative fees, and other benefits.

These policy announcements are made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

The Deputy Secretary made these announcements at the inaugural meeting of the reconvened Beginning Farmer and Rancher Advisory Committee held at the University of California Davis, California. This Advisory Committee, composed of 20 members, including Extension agents, lenders, farmers, ranchers and academics will meet through 2015 to learn, discuss, and formulate recommendations to USDA on how to support new and beginning farmers.

A fact sheet outlining significant USDA efforts to support beginning farmers and ranchers, and other Department-wide accomplishments, are available on


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).



Farmer’s Market Links

This post will be dedicated to some Farmer’s Market Links as we try to streamline the infrastructure between the grower and the plate.

Live Oak Farmer's Market

I also like the branding for the Live Oak Farmer’s Market – 3 parts, easy to remember and easy to understand – Make It – Bake It – Grow It!

Farm to Family is a non-profit, mobile Farmer’s Market in the Jacksonville area.

The Arcadia Mobile Market near Washington DC is also out there taking the food where it is needed.

Finally, the Florida Market Maker is connecting Farmers/Growers with Buyers.  This program has been a work in progress and is only limited by the amount of growers and buyers that use it to increase commerce.

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