The North Carolina Cooperative Extension is bringing its business training classes to farmers in the state's eastern region.
Farmers looking to start a new operation or diversify their farm can get business advice through the NC Farm School Down East. During the four-month program, cooperative extension agents will present two evening classes a month, and participants will take monthly field trips to different farms in the region. The class is for people who have access to land and plan to start farming in the very near future, but need guidance about the kind of agriculture business they’d like to have, said Leigh Guth, extension director for Pitt County.
“Which entrepreneur activity is going to be lucrative for them? Is it raising cattle? Is it growing u-pick strawberries? Is it growing vegetables for the farmers’ market?” she said. “Of these options, which one is going to make us money and meet the needs that we have as a farm family?"
The class will also help farmers make better informed choices about the equipment they buy, Guth said.
“Imagine trying to decide whether you really needed to purchase irrigation equipment or this large of a tractor – this type of barn," she said. "Those are big money decisions often, and having some people with experience coach you through that can really make a difference in the bottom line of that farm operation in the early years.”
The program will start in February. Two interest meetings will take place next week. The first is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the cooperative extension office in Craven County, and the second will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the extension office in Pitt County. Both meetings start at 6 p.m.