Trempealeau County UW-Extension will host a six-part educational series for people interested in starting either a new farm business utilizing direct marketing or adding a direct marketing component to an existing farm business. These sessions will provide information on creating business plans, finding and securing financing, locating production assets, and more.

Sessions include information on writing a business plan on Jan. 8, financial analysis on Jan. 22, farmers markets on Feb. 5, debt and accessing credit on Feb. 19, legal considerations March 5 and marketing on March 19.

The first meeting of the series on Jan. 8, will cover topics related to success with direct marketing and writing a one-page business plan to start successfully. Kyle Zenz of Old Oak Family farm will share her experience with direct marketing (Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and farmers markets) for fruit, vegetables and beef. Her family farm, located near Bangor, has CSA member shares in La Crosse, Bangor and Black River Falls, and the family has been part of the La Crosse Farmers Market for over 20 years.

Zenz also started growing cut flowers for the market and started a flower CSA member share. Zenz will share her lessons learned, successes and her ideas on direct marketing.   

Survey data has shown 60 percent of Wisconsin consumers will pay more for locally grown produce. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports sales of local food, whether sold directly to consumers at farmers' markets or through secondary markets like grocers, restaurants, or farm-to-school programs amounted to $4.8 billion in 2008. The USDA predicts the figure will hit $7 billion this year, 2018. Selling products direct to consumers keeps more money on local farms and more money in our local economy.

Business mentors will be available throughout the series and beyond to assist participants in their new endeavors. In addition, the SCORE volunteer network will introduce their no-fee consulting program for beginning business entrepreneurs. Per Forsberg will help participants write their one-page business plan, essential for any new business idea, and often required by financiers.  

All sessions will be held at Riverland Energy, N28988 Highway 93, Arcadia, WI. Registration will start at 10:30 a.m. and the meeting will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

The cost to attend all six programs is $80 or $15 for each individual program.  To register please call the Trempealeau County Extension office at 715-538-2311 ext. 208. Para Español llamar 715-896-1609.


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