Owning your own business can be a complicated undertaking and when that business is a farm, it’s even more challenging. That’s why the Farm Business Management program was created at South Central College.
SCC’s Farm Business Management (FBM) program was specifically designed for people who are actively engaged in the operation and management of a farm business. Its purpose is to develop the farm manager’s ability to organize resources in order to meet business and family goals.
Farmers have many resources – land, livestock, machinery, but by far, according to Farm Business Management student Mark Hewitt, “The farmer’s greatest resource is what’s in his head.” This includes the flexibility to adapt to industry fluctuations in the farming industry itself. Participating in the Farm Business Management program assists the farmer in adjusting to these changes by emphasizing goal setting, identification of resources, records management, and business analysis and interpretation.
FBM has a state-wide network of knowledgeable and caring instructors that help with all aspects of the farm – and most importantly the financial aspects. Obtaining financing is a much smoother and more streamlined process when the borrower shows up at the lender’s office with a full set of financials that they understand and is ready for submission. This kind of preparation opens up opportunities to get financing that others may not.
“When a customer has the financial data assembled in concert with a farm business instructor, it provides a great deal of credibility to the lender,“ says Ken Rossow, Senior Vice President at Nicollet County Bank. “Farming today is vastly different than it was in the past. Not only in terms of technology, but in terms of scale.”
FBM classes work around your schedule. Your instructor comes right to you at your farm when it’s convenient for you and the program is tailored to each student. Nathan Ulrich is a family farmer and sees the great value in participating in the FBM program. “It’s not a one size fits all program. It’s money well spent as a good investment in your future. My feeling is that the tuition is just a cost of production that has a multi-fold return.”
With the many different credentials available through Farm Business Management, there are offerings available for nearly every level of farm management from just starting out to winding down toward retirement. Or even providing guidance in the event of transitioning out of farming altogether.
Recently, several of South Central College’s Farm Business Management instructors earned International Farm Transition Network certification. The training qualifies them to assist farm families with farm transitions and to help the family communicate and set goals for moving through the process. With the many economic forces surrounding family farmers, some are being forced to transition into a different career and now FBM instructors are prepared to assist them in this process as well.