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The Winter Business Intensive is the second session in the SWVA Field School. The session is made up of 8 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. The Winter Business Intensive is $50 and includes all 8 classes, printed lesson binder, and a copy of “Whole Farm Management: From Start-up to Sustainability”

All SWVA Field School sessions are free to military veterans and active duty.

Class time and location

Address: 100 VHCC Drive, Abingdon, VA 24210

Class will be held at the Virginia Highlands Community College in ISC 107 (see map) with an online option for those who are unable to attend in person.

Each class will begin promptly at 6:00PM and end no later than 8:00PM. Registration is $50.

This session is offered for FREE to Military Veterans.


Class 1: Introductions & Getting Started
Thursday, November 2

Introduce the program, support staff, coursework and expectations6:00PM – 6:30PMASD
Getting Started: What went right and what went wrong?6:30PM – 7:10PMDylan & Denita House – Creative Seeds Farm
FSA Farm Numbers, Homework Overview7:10PM – 7:20PMASD
Wrap Up7:20PM – 7:30PMASD

Class 2: Visioning & Assessing Your Resources
Thursday, November 16

Homework Review6:00PM – 6:15PM
Values & Vision Statement6:15PM – 6:45PM
Farm Start Up: Vision and Assessment; Roadblocks and Successes6:45PM – 7:25PMTrevor Hansard, Red Tail Grove
Homework Overview, Wrap Up7:25PM – 7:45PM

Class 3: Farm Infrastructure & Natural Resources
Thursday, December 7

Homework Review6:00PM – 6:30PM
4 core principles of soil health management6:30PM – 7:10PMMary Sketch and Eric Bendfeldt, 4theSoil
Soil health, reading a soil test, what weeds indicate about your soil, and more6:10PM – 7:50PMScott Jerrell, VATech Cooperative Extension
Homework Overview, Wrap Up7:50PM – 8:00PM

Class 4: Markets & Marketing
Thursday, December 21

Collect questions for panelists6:00PM – 6:15PM
Farmer & Market Panel Discussion
Discuss partnerships, marketing strategies, and communication
6:15PM – 7:15PMAdam 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 guide7:15PM – 7:45PM
Homework Overview, Wrap Up7:45PM – 8:00PM

Class 5: Business & Financial Management
Thursday, January 4

Homework Review6:00PM – 6:30PM
Business & Financial Management6:30PM – 7:15PMAlli Hullet, KCARD
Farm Credit Knowledge Center and Financial Opportunities7:15PM – 7:45PMTina Puckett, Farm Credit
Enterprise Budgets overview and exercise7:45PM – 7:55PM
Homework Overview, Wrap Up7:55PM – 8:00PM

Class 6: Sustainable Production Planning
Thursday, January 18

Homework Overview6:00PM – 6:15PM
Sustainable Production Practices6:15PM – 7:00PMDanny Boyer, NRCS
Agroforestry 1017:00PM – 7:45PMEmilie Tweardy, ASD
Homework Overview, Wrap Up7:45PM – 8:00PM

Class 7: Entreprenuership & Risk Management
Thursday, February 1

Homework Overview6:00PM – 6:15PM
Business start up basics, Info about SBDC has to offer small businesses, and Q&A6:15PM – 7:00PMCindy Fields, SBDC
Insurance considerations, risk management, and Q&A7:00PM – 7:30PMShawn Roark, Farm Bureau
Homework Overview & Business Plan Q&A, Wrap Up7:30PM – 8:00PM

Class 8: Loans, Grants, & Support Programs
Thursday, February 15

Homework Overview6:00PM – 6:15PM
Conventional Agriculture Loans6:15PM – 6:45PMHaley Blevins, First Bank & Trust
Grant Writing Basics6:45PM – 7:30PMDella McGuire, Grant Writer, ASD
Business plan Q&A and presentations7:30PM – 7:50PM
Wrap Up/Closing Gathering planning7:55PM – 8:00PM


Appalachian Harvest SWVA Field School

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