When Dreamers Become Doers

If you talk to just about anyone in the ag industry, you’ll likely learn they own or manage a small business. I, too, am a self-professed entrepreneur. We’re not 9-to-5 people; small business is a 24-7 commitment. 

In fact, did you know that 97 percent of all U.S. farms are family-owned? Small businesses are part of the lifeblood of Florida agriculture. Because of their close involvement with the community, UF/IFAS Extension agents often field questions from individuals interested in starting their own farm- or ag-related business. 

That’s why UF/IFAS developed its Ag Entrepreneurship Program. Since it was started in 2018, the program has exploded, and it’s been expanded to include three individual workshops.

According to UF/IFAS, “each workshop starts with a two-week online course that includes recorded presentations, case study videos, worksheets, and a discussion forum where workshop members can ask questions of the workshop leaders and network with each other.”

This year’s workshops take place June 16-30, August 10-24, and October 13-27.

Each workshop delves into key fundamentals of ag business. This year, the main topics include:

  • June Session: Starting a Farm
    Basics of starting a farm business, including assessing goals, financial preparedness, regulations, and other fine print. 
  • August Session: Farm Business Planning
    A closer look at research, marketing, operations, and risk management. 
  • October Session: Marketing for Your Small Farm
    Business plan implementation, promotional strategies, and avenues for selling to consumers.

The best part is you can sign up for one or more of the workshops. 

You’re no doubt familiar with the saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Well, programs like this help you do that! The ag community is full of self-starters who have been where you are — in the dream stage. They may be answering emails at 11:30 at night and falling asleep with their boots still on, but that smile on their face is genuine. 

As the founder of multiple businesses, including Labor Solutions, Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch, Chop-N-Block, and F1 Meat Co., I’ll be the first to say that starting your own business is challenging. I’ll also be the first to say that outside of raising children, it’s one of the most rewarding ventures you can make. 

Learn more about the workshops at ifas-ag-entrepreneurship.catalog.instructure.com.

This article is sponsored by Labor Solutions, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of Central Florida Ag News or of its advertisers.BIO: Baxter Troutman is founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, Arcadia, and Plant City. You also can visit his Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch online at www.DH-LR.com. A cattle rancher and citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.

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