University of Maryland Extension

Farming: Pencil to Plow Program graduates it's first class

On November 12, 2012, the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce and University of Maryland Extension held the graduation ceremony for the first Farming: Pencil to Plow graduates.  Eleven aspiring farmers completed the eight-week agricultural entreprenurship training to prepare themselves for being successful agriculture producers.

Each graduate of this program completed a business plan and are now prepared to take the next step in their dream to own and operate a small farming business.  Graduates included a diverse background in agriculture production such as vegetables, farmer's markets, forage, small grains, composting, herbal teas, and inner city gardening.   The course was designed for aspiring small farmers and those producers interested in diversifying their operation.  Topics covered included discussions on agricultural market research, the 4 P's (product, price, placement, and promotion), bookeeping, record keeping, government regulations, contracts and leasing, income statements, developing customer profiles, and much more.  Each session was supplemented by presentations from subject matter experts such as CPA, bankers, insurance agent, marketing experts, and University of Maryland Extension staff.

Upon graduating, each graduate gave a summary of their business plan and were awarded a certificate of completion.

This program would not be possible without the support of our financial donors, and we would like to thank the following organizations and buinesses that provided financial support and contributions during the project: Easten Shore Entrepreneurship Center, Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit, and Landmark Insurance.  We would also like to express our thanks to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Small Farms Program who hosted the graduation ceremony.

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