Beginning dairy and livestock farmers face significant obstacles in getting started: accessing land, financing early investments, maintaining sufficient cash flow, troubleshooting the inevitable challenges that come up, and sustaining a viable business. A strong business plan can serve as a road map for navigating these obstacles.
Throughout the Grass-Based Dairy Seminar, students are encouraged to reflect on their farming goals and possible business approaches. Then, taking everything learned through the course, each WSBDF student will develop his or her own business plan as a final project. Students are then given the opportunity to present their plans to a panel of experts for feedback and input.
As the following testimonials suggest, numerous students have gone on to use the business plans that they developed through WSBDF to secure the financing that got their businesses up and running:
“I’d have to say the whole business plan process was really valuable,” said Robert Klinker, a graduate of the program who went on to start a successful dairy farm. “The plan I wrote up in class is the one I used when I applied for my original FSA [Farm Service Agency] beginning farmer loan.”
Similarly, Sarah Mumm, another program graduate who is farming successfully, said, “Life came at me a lot faster than I expected, and the school helped me out in so many ways. I remember when I went to get my loan, looking up my paperwork from those classes. I know my loan officer was impressed with me when I went in because he thought my plan was good.”