Sierra Harvest Farm Biz Classes – A Business Course for Farmers





Register for Farm Biz 2018:  


Get inspired to manage a business with skill and success!  Attend our business planning course and infuse your farm with prosperity from the start.  Classes meet every Tuesday, 330 – 6pm, January 23rd through March 6th. This 7-part course takes farmers through the steps of planning and projecting the cash-flow of the farming season.  We will work to project sales and tally up expenses, finding the numbers needed to plan for a profitable season.   This class is perfect for farmers in their first few years of owning their own farm business but is open to everyone.  We strongly recommend that applicants experience at least 1 season on a production farm before attending this course. 

Tuition for this course is $245.  Please contact for more information about scholarships.   Our generous community is eager to support farmers in finding success.  

Classes meet every Tuesday, 330pm to 6oopm, in Nevada City (classroom site TBA)

January 23:  Production Goals

You’ve got land, some good ideas, and a lot of energy to get going – now what?  It’s time to sit down and make a plan for the coming growing season.  What can you grow?  What can you sell? How can you trial an idea without breaking the bank?  Take a critical look at the opportunities available to you and brainstorm ways to use them to build a niche for your farm business.  

Workshop hours Thursday 1/25 – Need a place to get to prepare for next week’s class and work on your Farm Plan?  Come by the Sierra Harvest office for fast internet, bright lights and productive vibes. 

January 30: Projecting Yields & Sales

Now that you’ve got a plan, let’s get down to the nuts of bolts.  How much can you grow?  What yields can you expect for Nevada County?  How do you plan for loss?  How long will your harvest and sales window be?  Who can you sell your products to and at what price?  Workshop hours Thursday 2/1

February 6:  Estimating Costs & Managing Risks

It is tons of fun to think about potential sales for a season, but knowing the costs of production is the mark of a great farmer!  How much time will it take to meet your production goals?  What are the real costs of getting a crop to market?  Understanding costs will help you make important decisions about your farm, set correct prices and earn the income you deserve. 

Thursday, February 8:  Food Safety Workshop with Family Farmed / RMA

Farm Biz 2018 will include a special, all day Food Safety Workshop with Family Farmed and the USDA Risk Management Agency.  This important workshop will look closely at your farm production system and ensure that you are handling your products in a way that ensures highest quality, maximum shelf life, and safety.  All attendees will receive a Wholesale Success Manual, a fantastic resource with post-harvest handling instructions for any crop you may grow!

 February 13:  Create a Cash Flow Calendar

We’ve looked at income and expenses and now it’s time to lay those numbers out across the season.  Farmers often spend a lot of money in the winter and spring, well before any crops are ready for sale.   Creating a cash-flow budget will help you to predict and plan for lean times.  Your cash flow budget will then serve a guide throughout the season, helping you to keep within your budget and meet your profit goals!  Workshop hours Thursday 2/15

 February 20: Break week

 February 27:  AnalyzingYour Farm Plan

 It can be very easy to tell you self over and over again that you can “make it work” but what are the numbers really telling you?  How do you know if a crop is a good choice or not?  Of every dollar you earn from a crop, how much should go to pay expenses?  Learn tools to analyze your farm financials and make informed decisions that will lead you down a path of success!  Workshop hours Thursday 2/29

March 6:  Farmer Professionalism

We know that you can grow the perfect cucumber but then what?  Getting your crop from the ground to the market takes professionalism and business skills.  We’ll go over the basics of maintaining great relationships with your buyers, ensuring maximum sales over the season.

March 30: Last day to apply for the Farm Crew training program!  For the best chance at a great farm placement, submit your application ASAP!

sbc_logo_transparent_verticalSupport from the Small Business Community

By attending Farm Biz – you’ll qualify for free, one-on-one business consulting through the Sierra Business Development Center.  This targeted counseling will help you continue to develop your own business vision and master the skills necessary for success!

Still formulating your farm business idea? 

The Beginning Farm Academy offered by  UC Cooperative Extension Placer/Nevada is another great resource if you are considering starting a commercial farm or ranch.