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Short Course: Farm Business Planning

bis planning


Dates: Thursdays, March 1, 8 & 22, 2018

Time: 6:30PM to 8:00PM (PDT)

Cost: Free

Locations: Various locations in the Province

Richmond – KPU Richmond Rm 1420, 8771 Lansdowne Rd.
Armstrong – Armstrong Public Library, 3305 Smith Dr. #1
Penticton – Cowork Penticton, 129 Nanaimo Ave W.
Abbotsford - Ministry of Agriculture Rm 131, 1767 Angus Campbell Rd.
Revelstoke - Community Connections Society, 314 Second St. E
Nelson - Community Futures Central Kootenay Office, 201-514 Vernon St. 

Presenter: Dr. Chris Bodnar, Sessional Instructor, Department of Sustainable Agriculture, KPU Richmond
Owner & Operator of Close to Home Organics

Chris Bodnar has been a sessional instructor in KPUs, Department of Sustainable Agriculture for three years where he teaches AGRI 3135 – Business of Agriculture.  His expertise in communications and extensive experience in agricultural business management have provided students with practical, relevant skills that can be applied in a variety of agriculturally related businesses. In this short course, Chris will draw on his experience, expertise and a range of resources to provide participants with a practical approach to getting started with farm business planning.


What is this Short Course?

Managing your farm as a business is an important but often neglected component of operating a farm. Recent research shows that farmers who create and use business planning are more confident, more profitable and more able to take advantage of new opportunities. This short course will introduce participants to the concept of farm business planning through some practical, hands-on exercises. Teaching content will reference Ministry of Agriculture resources, primarily the New Farm Start-Up guide, and introduce participants to options for further support through the Ministry.

The format of this short course is to encourage farmer-to-farmer interaction and for new and existing farmers to create a network of peers. Each session is an hour long, with 30 minutes at the end for questions and answers with the presenter and among the participants. At each session, a facilitator will be present to moderate questions and to lead discussions with the participants to review what was covered in that class and for the participants to discuss among themselves. Presentation material and additional resources will be shared with all participants.

For some locations, there will be Ministry Agrologists present, so that participants have the opportunity to meet them and be familiar with the agrologists in their regions. This is a great learning and networking opportunity for new and existing farmers as agrologists have extensive agriculture knowledge that is specific to the region.


The three sessions will cover the following topics:

Session 1 – March 1: Setting Goals and Starting a Business Plan
Developing a solid farm business idea requires a clear sense of what each farmer wants to get out of their enterprise. Some people want their farm to supplement their household income, while others intend to earn their entire livelihood on the farm. As a result, the process of setting personal and business goals is crucial to establishing a strong foundation for a farm business. Webinar participants will learn how to set effective goals and to evaluate those goals using SMART goal criteria. They will also learn how goal setting fits into the planning phase of business development.

Session 2 – March 8: Determining Production and Marketing Options
What you can grow and where you can sell it -- not to mention the price you can get for it -- are key aspects to consider in planning a farming enterprise. What you can grow depends on your climate, soil conditions, the start-up costs associated with certain types of production. Whether you can sell your product and the price you can get are key factors that will influence what you may grow. Webinar participants will learn the basics of Production Planning, including assessing their land capabilities, start-up costs and ongoing production costs. They will also learn the basic process of assessing their market to determine what they can sell and they price they can expect. 

Session 3 – March 22: Assembling and Using a Plan, Plus Accessing Resources To Help
Putting together a business plan may seem daunting, but after setting goals, assessing production capacities and market opportunities, it's just a matter of organizing this information into a more formal plan. In this webinar, participants will learn how their production and marketing plans inform the income and expense sections of their budgets. Assembling these parts will form the basic part of their business plan. In this webinar we will also review resources to assist in planning, including online business planning apps and the Ministry of Agriculture's Taking Stock workbook and Farm Business Advisory Services.


This project is a collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems (ISFS) at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
This project is funded under the Growing Forward 2, a federal-territorial-provincial initiative.