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CERTIFIED FARM SEEKER PROGRAM - INTRODUCTION TO WHOLE FARM PLANNING

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Introduction to Whole Farm Planning

Introduction to Whole Farm Planning -The main objective of the Introduction to Whole Farm Planning module is to determine the reality of establishing a farm enterprise by exploring motives, resources, and personal goals relating to the farming industry. This is the introductory section where farmers will brainstorm why, what, and where they want to farm.

An alternative version of the Introduction to Whole Farm Planning module is available for farmers that already have demonstrated on-farm experience.  Please click here (pdf or docx) to download this version of the Introduction to Whole Farm Planning module. If you have any questions as to which module you should complete, please contact the CFS coordinator.

Click here for module worksheets.

Part 1-Brainstorming

Objectives:
→Understand the various components and facets of a beginning farm enterprise and the input needed to become sustainable.    
→Determine the reality of establishing a farm enterprise by exploring motives, resources, and personal goals related to the farming industry. 

Questions to Answer: (Expand on Worksheet 1 and Worksheet 2 in “Introduction to Whole Farm Planning”)
→What are your motivations to start a farm?
→What resources do you have to make this farm a reality?
→How much capital are you able to invest?
→Do you have suitable farmland?
→Do you want to farm full or part time?
→What kinds of production practices do you need to know?
→How and where will you market what you will grow or raise?
→Do you have the skill, knowledge, and networks to be successful?
→What does a successful farm look like to you?

Overview of Assignments:
→Describe your new farming enterprise.
→Define your whole farm goals.
→Take an inventory of your resources.
→Determine your quality of life preferences.
→Define an action plan with timeline. 

Describe your new farming enterprise:
→What products will you raise?
→What size will it be?
→Where is it located?
→Who is involved?
→What makes it unique?

Part 2-Beginning Organization

Whole Farm Goals: Farm Goals Worksheet in “Introduction to Whole Farm Planning”
→Quality of Life
→Forms of Production
→Future Resource Base

Inventory of Resources and Preferences:
→Quality of Life Preferences-Quality of Life Worksheet in “Intro. to Whole Farm Planning”
→Personal Resources-Worksheet 6 in “Intro. to Whole Farm Planning”
            ∙ personality strengths and weaknesses
→Financial Resources-Worksheet 8 in “Intro. to Whole Farm Planning”
→Production and Stewardship Preferences-Worksheet 9 in “Intro to Whole Farm Planning”
            ∙scale of operation
            ∙degree of diversity and how components will be integrated
            ∙how you will reach your stewardship goals given what you know about the land
            and resources at your farm site.
→Marketing Options and Preferences-Worksheet 10 in “Intro. to Whole Farm Planning”
            ∙direct vs. wholesale
            ∙consider location of farm, accessibility of markets, marketability of your product,
            associated marketing costs, legal issues, and your personal/family characteristics
            and values 

Define Action Plan- With Timeline
→What technical skills need to be acquired?
→How can suitable farmland be obtained?
→What land resources are available?
→How can the necessary financial resources be acquired?
→What business management skills and resources are needed?
→What kind of market research needs to be completed?
→What personal farming network exists?
→How do your family lifestyle goals fit into your farm enterprise timeline?
→How do your personal/community goals fit into your farm enterprise timeline?

For more information, please contact:

Andy Sorrell
VDACS Office of Farmland Preservation
804.786.1906
Andrew.Sorrell@vdacs.virginia.gov

Ron Saacke
Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers
804.514.4202
ron.saacke@vafb.com

Certified Farm Seeker Program Coordinator
804.290.1030
YoungFarmers@vafb.com
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