University of Maryland Extension

Farming: Pencil to Plow


        A Nationally Recognized Extension Program

Farming: Pencil to Plow is a nationally recognized agricultural entrepreneurship training course

by the National Association of County Agriculture Agents (NACAA) designed for aspiring small and new farmers as well as producers who are interested in diversifying their current farm operation.

Graduates that complete this beginning farmer program will be successfully prepared to take the next step in their dream of owning and operating a farm business.  Participants who complete this training course will have a prepared business plan to present to potential lending sources along with a certificate of completion issued by NxLevel, a nationally recognized entrepreneurship training provider.


  • Evaluate Farming Ideas and Operations for New Farmers
  • Create A Business Plan
  • Make Local Agriculture Business Connections
  • Understand Financial Lending Agencies Requirements
  • NxLevel Certificate of Completion (a nationally recognized entrepreneurship training provider)


  • Maryland Agriculture
  • Farm Regulations and Policies
  • Developing Financial Statements
  • Components of a Business Plan
  • Writing a Business Plan
  • Agriculture Marketing
  • Resources and Agencies Available to Assist Starting a Farm Business

Course curriculum is supplemented by presentations given by agriculture experts such as a CPA, bankers, insurance agents, marketing experts, the University of Maryland Extension, and other local agencies on specific agriculture components that are key to enhancing successful farming.  

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