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The Winter Business Intensive is the second session in the SWVA Field School. The session is made up of 8 FREE intensive classes designed to help set beginning farmers on the path to a successful career in agriculture production.

During these classes, students will participate in topics such as business planning, sustainable practices, financial management, marketing, and more.

**SWVA Field School Events are sponsored by funding through the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement for up to 3 years. When the funding period ends, there may be a cost associated with the program.**

Class time and location

Class will be held at the Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator with an online option for those who are unable to attend in person.

Each class will begin promptly at 5:30PM and end no later than 7:30PM. Attendance is FREE but, registration is required.

Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator


Class 1: Introductions & Getting Started
Thursday, November 3

Introduce the program, support staff, coursework and expectations5:30PM – 6:00PM
Participant Introductions6:00PM – 6:30PM
Getting Started: What went right and what went wrong?6:30PM – 7:10PMDylan & Denita House – Creative Seeds Farm
FSA Farm Numbers, Homework Overview7:10PM – 7:20PM
Wrap Up7:20PM – 7:30PM

Class 2: Visioning & Assessing Your Resources
Thursday, November 17

Homework Review5:30PM – 6:00PM
Values & Vision Statement6:00PM – 6:30PM
Farm Start Up: Vision and Assessment; Roadblocks and Successes6:30PM – 7:10PMTrevor Hansard, Red Tail Grove
Homework Overview7:10PM – 7:20PM
Wrap Up7:10PM – 7:30PM

Class 3: Farm Infrastructure & Natural Resources
Thursday, December 1

Homework Review5:30PM – 6:00PM
4 core principles of soil health management6:00PM – 6:45PMMary Sketch and Eric Bendfeldt, 4theSoil
Soil health, reading a soil test, what weeds indicate about your soil, and more6:45PM – 7:15PMScott Jerrell, VATech Cooperative Extension
Homework Overview7:15PM – 7:25PM
Wrap Up7:25PM – 7:30PM

Class 4: Markets & Marketing
Thursday, December 15

Collect questions for panelists5:30PM – 5:40PM
Farmer & Market Panel Discussion
Discuss partnerships, marketing strategies, and communication
5:40PM – 6:20PMAdam Pendleton, AH
Justen Dick, Kelly Ridge Farm
Dylan and Denita House, Creative Seeds Farm
David Wallace, Reeds Valley Farm
Market Readiness presentation, market channel assessment guide6:20PM – 7:00PM
Homework Overview7:00PM – 7:15PM
Wrap Up7:15PM – 7:30PM

Class 5: Business & Financial Management
Thursday, January 5

Homework Review5:30PM – 6:00PM
Business & Financial Management6:00PM – 6:45PMMyrisa Christy, KCARD
Farm Credit Knowledge Center and Financial Opportunities6:45PM – 7:15PMTina Puckett, Farm Credit
Enterprise Budgets overview and exercise7:15PM – 7:25PM
Homework Overview, Wrap Up7:25PM – 7:30PM

Class 6: Sustainable Production Planning
Thursday, January 19

Homework Overview5:30PM – 5:45PM
Sustainable Production Practices5:45PM – 6:25PMDanny Boyer, NRCS
Agroforestry 1016:25PM – 7:05PMEmilie Tweardy, ASD
Homework Overview7:05PM – 7:15PM
Wrap Up7:15PM – 7:30PM

Class 7: Entreprenuership & Risk Management
Thursday, February 2

Homework Overview5:30PM – 5:40PM
Business start up basics, Info about SBDC has to offer small businesses, and Q&A5:40PM – 6:25PMCindy Fields, SBDC
Insurance considerations, risk management, and Q&A6:25PM – 6:55PMShawn Roark, Farm Bureau
Homework Overview & Business Plan Q&A6:55PM – 7:15PM
Wrap Up7:15PM – 7:30PM

Class 8: Loans, Grants, & Support Programs
Thursday, February 16

Homework Overview5:30PM – 5:35PM
Conventional Agriculture Loans5:35PM – 6:05PMHaley Blevins, First Bank & Trust
Grant Writing Basics6:05PM – 6:45PMDella McGuire, Grant Writer, ASD
Business plan Q&A and presentations6:45PM – 7:15PM
Wrap Up/Closing Gathering planning7:15PM – 7:30PM


Appalachian Harvest SWVA Field School

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