Whole Farm Planning Course Work
The Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program team has developed and is in the process of publishing a Whole Farm Planning Curriculum. This course work is designed to guide the beginning farmer in developing his or her whole farm plan.
These modules are designed with the beginning farmer as the primary learner. Topics and activities are purposefully organized at the introductory– intermediate stage of farming knowledge and experience. At the end of each module, additional resources and Virginia service provider contact information will be provided.
Whole Farm Planning Module Topics
Introduction to Whole Farm Planning - Published
The purpose of the Introduction to Whole Farm Planning module is to help beginning farmers and ranchers in Virginia to make informed farm planning decisions by introducing them to the whole farm planning process. The first module includes key concepts, worksheets, and examples to provide the framework and inspiration you will need to plan your own farm.
Land Acquisition and Tenure - Published
The Land Acquisition and Tenure module is designed to help beginning farmers and ranchers develop and implement farm tenure and transfer goals as part of the whole farm plan. Established farmers who are planning for the transfer of their farm may also find this module useful. The module includes key concepts and worksheets to help you assess land resources, land acquisition needs, and land transfer preferences.
Whole Farm Business Management and Planning - Published
The purpose of the Whole Farm Business Management module is to help beginning farmers and ranchers in Virginia to make informed business decisions by introducing them to the business management process. This module includes key concepts, worksheets, and examples to provide the framework and inspiration you will need to manage your business.
Marketing - We are working to get this document published, but drafts are available
The Marketing module is designed to help beginning farmers and ranchers develop and implement their goals for market analysis, product establishment, and development of viable marketing channels. The module includes concepts, worksheets, and case study examples to help you assess your potential customers, product options, available markets, and dynamic marketing strategies.
Sustainable Farming Practices - We are working to get these documents published, but drafts are available
The purpose of this module is to help beginning farmers and ranchers develop and hone their skills and knowledge in the fundamental production practices associated with establishing and growing a wide range of plants and animals. This module is divided into five sections, each focused on specific aspects of production agriculture: 1. The Place and the Products; 2. Farm Biodiversity; 3. Organisms in the Ecosystem: Beneficials, Pests and Diseases; 4. Soil Management; 5. Animal Husbandry.
Your request will be answered with an email reply from firstname.lastname@example.org. It is very important that we get details of who is using the curriculum, and an evaluation of how it worked for them in order to improve the materials for future participants. You will be asked for your contact information, then the full version of the modules, with evaluation forms, will be provided for you. Each module will be delivered one at a time, as we believe that each module should be worked through individually. We will be following up with each participant to determine how your evaluations can be used to improve the curriculum.
Select Resources from Virginia Whole Farm Planning Curriculum
Intro to Whole Farm Planning
ATTRA publication explores economic viability, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility.
Kansas State University Dept. of Horticulture answers, "What is Whole-Farm Planning".
Whole Farm Planning is a process to pull together decision making about environmental, economic, and production concerns. A toolbox for farmers.
Publication of University of Minnesota Extension Service. Taking a look at the 4 steps to Whole Farm Planning.
New England Small Farm Institute's workbook to help you decide if you want to own and operate your own farm business.
Ohio State Extension Service “Building for the Successful Transition of Your Agricultural Business” Fact Sheet Series: Whole Farm Planning Model.
Land Acquisition & Tenure
Center for Rural Affairs takes a look at opportunities and financing programs for beginning farmers.
Provides a structured approach for students and teachers in both academic and non-academic settings to study agricultural land tenure, and explore tenure alternatives and successful farm tenancy.
This publication is specifically for those who want to keep their family farm in production and in the family as it passes to the next generation.
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture guide for farmers to assist in land/farm transition from the the current generation to the next.
Holistic Business Management
Brings the business planning process alive to help today's alternative and sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs transform farm-grown inspiration into profitable enterprises.
This guide lists funding opportunities offered by federal programs, and is indispensable for anyone seeking government help to foster their innovative enterprise in forestry and agriculture.
Effective management of a farming operation today requires that records be kept so managers can make informed decisions affecting the profitability of their farms.
How one couple used its family’s ranch to launch a profitable, grass-based beef operation focused on direct market sales.
IRS Publication 225. For use in preparing 2011 returns.
Human resources play important roles in farm businesses of all sizes.
Virginia Cooperative Extension guide. Friendly question and answer format.
Maryland Cooperative Extension fact sheet is one in the series Enterprise Guide for Southern Maryland, providing information about alternative agricultural enterprises for farmers.
This manual was developed by apprenticeship instructors, and professionals in direct marketing, small farm business planning, small farm viability, and Cooperative Extension personnel.
University of Vermont Extension publication discusses easy, inexpensive methods used to monitor how customers really feel about your product.
Sustainable Farming Practices
Magdoff and van Es' third edition text on sustainable soil management.
Explores how and why cover crops work and provides all the information needed to build cover crops into any farming operation.
Research paper from Department of Plant and Soil Science, University of Vermont, Burlington examines the ecology of agriculture, and how natural systems can be encouraged to work together for crop production.
Principals of ecologically based pest management
The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition is a state-wide and coalition-based Extension program, housed in Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education. Funding was sponsored by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Award #2017-70011-26861, and the Southern Risk Management Education Center Grant #545015. For more information about the program or funding, contact Kim Niewolny, Program Director and Extension Specialist, at email@example.com or 540-231-5784.
For website updates, such as broken links, please contact Allyssa Mark, Program Associate.