Over the past year, several individuals have been diligently learning and growing by participating in Cape Fear Farm Credit’s Ag Biz courses, and now, they have successfully graduated from the program.
Designed for young, beginning, and small farmers (YBS), the Ag Biz course covers topics in financial management, farm business management, lending, business planning, industry trends, profits, and professionalism. Divided into two sections—Ag Biz Basics and Ag Biz Planner—the course provides lessons for those that are just starting out (or haven’t even started) and those more established.
“Participating in the Ag Biz Course was a great experience! I learned so much about what it’s takes to run an agriculture business which includes how to manage my personal finances,” said Niccoya “Nicky” Dobson, an Ag Biz Basics participant from Magnolia, NC.
The course started with a kickoff webinar with Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech. Participants continued the course by completing online modules with the help of Cape Fear Farm Credit mentors. The course concluded with a two-day leadership institute in Raleigh.
During the leadership institute, participants heard from professors from Virginia Tech, Dr. Alex White and Dr. David Kohl as well as from guest speaker, Ray Starling former chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Starling shared stories of his time in Washington D.C. and thanked attendees for their passion for agriculture. He encouraged them to continue to build relationships and share agriculture stories with legislators.
“The two-day conference in Raleigh was invaluable as I met experienced farmers, learned about great programs, and met Federal Government Ag executives. I’m thankful for the opportunity and look forward to continuing my work with Cape Fear Farm Credit as a beginner farmer,” Dobson shared.
The Ag Biz course is just one way that Cape Fear Farm Credit is committed to provide value for their customers. Providing opportunities that helps farmers and agriculture to grow and thrive is so important.
"The Ag Biz Basics program empowers students with the necessary building blocks to start their farming business. This course has helped my husband and I to plan and prepare for all situations and has given us the knowledge to handle them thoroughly,” said Victoria Rehder, an Ag Biz Basics participant from Erwin, NC. “This course is a necessity for anyone thinking about or starting a farming business. We are looking forward to completing the Ag Biz Planner course next year,” Rehder added.
It is exciting to see the enthusiasm these YBS farmers bring. Eight students are involved in the 2019-2020 Ag Biz course. Niccoya Dobson of Magnolia, Benjamin Bledsoe of Supply, Ava Ashley of Durham, Joel Gupton of Fayetteville, and Victoria Rehder of Erwin are completing the Basics section and Tyle Huffer of Kenansville, Nate Whitman of Dunn, and Nicholas Fabbri of Red Springs are completing the Planner section.
Applications for the 2020-2021 program will be open early this summer. We are excited for our next group of Ag Biz participants and are thankful to be able to provide an opportunity that gives agriculturalists tools to thrive.