DUFFIELD, Va. – Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD), will soon be offering registration for the 2021-2022 Winter Business Intensive, a series of 8 classes that are part of its Southwest Virginia Field School program. These classes are designed to create pathways for beginning farmers, gardeners and military veterans. Students will come away with greater knowledge through lessons in business planning, finances and marketing and gain networking skills and confidence for planning out a farm operation to fit their land and support their business goals. To learn more, visit: https://asdevelop.org/fieldschool. Specific questions should be directed to Jenni Roop, at: email@example.com.
Earlier this year, Appalachian Sustainable Development hosted Southwest Virginia’s first annual Summer Field School as part of the expanded offerings of its FARM program. The Winter Business Intensive is the next phase of the program’s expansion and is funded by The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) with a focus on serving the specific needs of military
veterans in Central Appalachia. The class schedule and topics are:
November 4th , 2021: Class # 1: Introductions & Getting Started
ASD will introduce the program, support staff, coursework and expectations, allowing time for each participant to speak about their farms and goals.
November 18th , 2021: Class # 2: Visioning & Assessing Your Resources
Students will reflect on their mission and values prior to creating a business plan. *ASD will provide resources for the review of personal and family lifestyle needs and deeper understanding of creating financial goals.
December 2nd , 2021: Class # 3: Farm Infrastructure & Natural Resources
Students will discuss the benefits of viewing their farm as a whole integrated system, with consideration of environmental, economic, and social resources needed for success. *Students will assess their farm’s resources and be introduced to conservation and support services.
December 16th , 2021: Class #4: Markets & Marketing
Students will learn how to identify appropriate sales outlets and specific local and regional customers. *Training on how to use low-cost platforms to market products effectively will be provided.
January 6th , 2022: Class # 5: Business & Financial Management
Students will get introduced to financial planning, recordkeeping, and filing taxes with an overview of budgets, cash flow analysis, and profit and loss sheets. *ASD will provide guidance for recordkeeping to make filing a farm’s Schedule F tax form easier.
January 20th , 2022: Class # 6 Sustainable Production Planning
ASD will share benefits of some sustainable production strategies: high tunnels for season extension, rotational grazing, and cover crops & soil health. *This class will highlight programs offered by other support organizations that cover these practices.
February 3rd , 2022: Class # 7 Entrepreneurship & Risk Management
Students will learn the steps to set up their business and manage risk on their farm. *Information includes getting a Farm Number, business license, insurance considerations, business structures, and estate planning.
February 17th , 2022: Class # 8: Loans, Grants & Financial Support
Students will have a fairly robust farm business plan outlined, which will be very useful when applying for loan or other support programs. *ASD will provide a variety of opportunities: state and federal grants, cost-share, and loan programs available to farmers with a special focus on the Farm Service Agency’s micro-loan program for beginning farmers.
March 3rd , 2022: Closing Gathering
About ASD’s FARM program FARM prepares aspiring and beginning farmers for successful careers in farming and food production by
providing them with a direct learning experience with mentors willing to transfer practical knowledge. The program serves a diverse group of beginning farmers and teaches them about careers in agriculture as well as pathways to employment.
About ASD’s SWVA Field School program
The Southwest Virginia Field School is a beginning farmer training program created by ASD in collaboration with partners Appalachian RC&D, located in northeast Tennessee. Originally offered only in northeast Tennessee, ASD is working to expand the program to Southwest Virginia. Sessions include business planning, finances, and marketing; all geared toward helping beginning farmers create sustainable and profitable small farms. The Southwest Virginia Field School offers two sessions: the Summer Field School and the Winter Business Intensive.
About Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD)
Nationally known and respected for its commitment to local farmers, Appalachian Sustainable Development celebrated its 25th year in 2020. ASD’s mission is to build a thriving regional food and agriculture system that creates healthy communities, respects the planet and cultivates profitable
opportunities for Appalachians. Since 1995, Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) has been working in 15 counties in Central
Appalachia. ASD’s reach has since expanded to include partners in eastern WV and KY and southeast Ohio. ASD uses six strategies to accomplish its work: education, increasing local food production, developing markets, increasing distribution of local agriculture products, engaging strategic partners, and researching/consulting and advising. ASD operates programs that create jobs in farming and agriculture and address food insecurity.