Over 80 farming operations were represented in the 4th annual Know to Grow conference sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America. All those in attendance are beginning farmers who came to the two day event not to learn better production methods but to learn better financial management skills. Jonathan Carter, with FCMA, said they stress the basics, “Teaching them how to fill out a balance sheet and figure their working capital.” He told HAT the goal is to turn their production operation into a business.
The program is very hands-on and provides experience in preparing the kind of financial information they will need to apply for an operating loan. They even bring in their own financial information and work with FCMA experts on putting together budgets. Those who participate in the program are extremely motivated, since successful completion of the program will earn them a preferential interest rate from FCMA.
Carter said the tough economic times currently being experienced by most beginning farmers gives them a much better appreciation for the skills they are learning, “We found that these beginning farmers are very willing to adapt and innovate and do whatever it takes to survive.” Later this year, similar programs will be held in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.