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Winter was a time for sharpening the tools

May 5, 2017 – No doubt, spring is here – with fieldwork delayed in many places with farmers eager to get into the fields. FarmLink’s work also evolves with the seasons. This past winter FarmLink was working across northern California to deliver education, technical assistance and practical resources for both beginning and retiring farmers. We’ve been sharpening our tools to serve farmers, and always learning from them.

For beginning farmers, we offered an array of workshops and resources at the EcoFarm Conference in Pacific Grove. We sharpened financial literacy and risk management plans in private, one-on-one clinics with our staff and partners. We also organized workshops to help establish sound legal and financial footings for your business, and learned about pathways to ownership, with examples of farmers who are building business equity with the wise use of credit.

FarmLink provided one-on-one clinics with farmers at EcoFarm, the first time in some years. We worked partnership with Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) to provide 50-minute sessions with farmers to evaluate financial literacy and risk management strategies. These assessments helped identify knowledge gaps in the areas of business formalization, loan readiness, and legal compliance, and resulted in a technical assistance plan and guide for farmers’ next steps.

Since last fall, FarmLink has been working with the Farmers Guild to deliver a portion of their two-day Entrepreneurial Intensives to help beginning farmers sharpen a wide variety of business skills. We’ve also been on the road with Agrarian Elders and the Next Generation: Planning for Succession – with workshops in Ukiah, Half Moon Bay, and Grass Valley. That work resulted in about 25 families expressing interest in getting started, or re-starting, their farm succession planning to maintain their operations and create opportunities for the next generation.

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