Our commitment to farmer and rancher education helps set Farm Credit apart from other lenders. Because supporting agriculture is our mission, we understand the unique challenges ag producers face and are committed to providing tools that can help our customer-owners overcome those challenges. That is why Farm Credit supports educational programs that help farmers develop their financial and business skills so their farm operation can grow and thrive in this generation and the next.
- Young, Beginning and Small Farmer Resources
Farm Credit partners with national and local farm organizations, land-grant universities, state departments of agriculture and programs like Annie’s Project to support their farmer and rancher education. Some of those resources are linked here. For more information about educational opportunities in your area, contact your local Farm Credit office.
Annie’s Project is a 6-week course for farm and ranch women exploring topics like risk management, marketing, business planning, estate planning, human resources, leasing and insurance. Find Annie’s Project classes in your area here.
The one-page business plan is a quick way to get farmers and ranchers started off in the right mindset with some core questions and answers.
- Click here for downloadable templates and guides
- Webinar: One-Page Business and Financial Plans
- Webinar: One-Page Risk Management Plan
The National Good Food Network (NGFN) is a broad network of producers, buyers, distributors, advocates, investors and funders involved in direct-to-retail agriculture and local/regional food systems. NGFN has a number of resources available for farmers, ranchers and others involved in the retail agriculture supply chain.
American Farmland Trust manages this clearinghouse of information for beginning farmers and ranchers seeking access to land and capital.
MarketMaker is a national network that connects farmers and fishermen with food retailers, grocery stores, processors, caterers, chefs and consumers. Farmers and ranchers seeking local marketing opportunities can register their farm business with MarketMaker or search for potential buyers.
This online community of farmers, ranchers and educators shares common knowledge and interest in helping beginning farmers and ranchers overcome the challenges to starting and sustaining a farming operation.
Newfarmers.usda.gov is USDA’s one-stop shop for new farmers, women in agriculture, farmer veterans and young people interested in agriculture careers.
Ag Biz Planner and Ag Biz Basics are online courses presented by Farm Credit University that help farmers and ranchers learn how to develop their strategic farm business plan.
AgPlan is an easy business planning app for farmers, ranchers and small businesses, created by the University of Minnesota.
- Research and Analysis
Agricultural research and analysis can help identify new marketing opportunities and help farmers and ranchers remain competitive. Farm Credit partners with universities, agriculture organizations and other institutions to provide valuable thought leadership on a number of agricultural topics and support research that furthers the industry. Some Farm Credit-supported research is listed below.
Farm to school offers benefits for children, farmers and communities; however, limited data are available to truly understand the economic impacts of farm to school procurement. This CoBank and AgriBank-funded report finds that not only were surveyed farmers satisfied or very satisfied with most aspects of farm to school sales, but farm to school farms purchase more inputs from the local economy, which results in positive local economic impact.
Farm Credit Council’s vice president of young, beginning and small farmer education and outreach Gary Matteson contributed to this book published jointly by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the USDA. Matteson’s chapter, The Nature of Local Food System Farm Businesses, compares lending practices to local food farms with those to conventional commodity operations.
This study draws on financial and operational data from 48 of the more than 300 regional food hubs in the nation, comparing results within particular sectors to develop baseline performance measures. Benchmarking is both a valuable planning tool for food hubs to compare their business performance against industry peers and find areas in need of improvement, and a way for investors and lenders to recognize capital needs and opportunities in the local food sector.
This report aims to bridge knowledge gaps on how young and beginning farm operators and small farm operators utilize newly emerging domestic marketing opportunities.
- Farm Credit Institution Knowledge Programs
Farm Credit has agricultural experts across the country who analyze global market and economic trends, compile benchmarking data and provide classes and educational resources on business planning, budgeting, marketing and risk management to help farmers and ranchers strengthen their farm businesses. A few of these Farm Credit Knowledge Centers are linked below, but please contact your local Farm Credit office for additional educational resources.