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Washington State University

Business Management

Program Contact: Chris Benedict
(360) 778-5809 •

Local Resource Organizations

Northwest Agricultural Business Center (NABC)
NABC’s clients receive practical training in such areas as management of agricultural resources, development of a business plan, financial planning, quality control, development of marketing strategies, and building a strong brand.

Whatcom County SBDC
The Washington SBDC promotes economic vitality within Washington communities by providing expert business advising, demand-driven training, and applied research to existing businesses and entrepreneurs. The SBDC is an appointment based, confidential, business advising service for local business owners. We meet with business owners or managers, one-on-one, to work on a variety of business topics.

Sustainable Connections Food and Farming Program
The Food & Farming program supports new farmers, connects eaters and food buyers to local farms and fishers and is a resource for building a sustainable local food economy.

Whatcom SCORE
SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. We have been doing this for nearly fifty years.

Community Food Coop Farm Fund
The Farm Fund is designed to support and grow the local food and farming economy and increase the amount of locally and sustainably produced products available for sale. The Farm Fund has an annual grant cycle and a revolving loan for farms and farming organizations.

Washington State Department of Revenue
An online overview of taxes applying to farming in Washington State.

Northwest Farm Credit Services
The Ag Vision Program helps young, beginning, small and minority producers access financing for land, equipment, and production expenses at competitive rates.

Farm Service Agency (FSA)
The Whatcom County FSA office can walk you through the process of applying for a low-interest loan designed specifically for farmers who cannot access credit elsewhere. Click here for local contact information.

Online Resources

USDA, Start 2 Farm
A one-stop reference for anyone looking for programs and resources to start farming and to be successful in their first years as a farmer or rancher.

Starting or Diversifying an Agricultural Business (pdf)
A guide to developing a business plan for a diversified small farm. Pennsylvania State University, 2004

Agricultural Marketing Resource Center
An electronic, national resource for producers interested in value-added agriculture.

SARE: Building a Sustainable Business (pdf)
This book brings the business planning process alive to help today’s alternative and sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs transform farm-grown inspiration into profitable enterprises.

USDA Risk Management Agency
The role of USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is to help producers manage their business risks through effective, market-based risk management solutions.

In partnership with the local SBDC, SBDCnet can produce a broad range of financial, market and demographic research reports customized to a client’s industry and geographic location. In addition to supporting small business entrepreneurs, SBDCNet now offers an array of products and services to support small to mid-size community development.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
The USDA has recently compiled a list of grant programs available through various government agencies that are designed to support farmers and strengthen local food systems. Some grants may require you to partner with a 501c3 organization or research institutions.

ATTRA Guide for Financing your Farm (pdf)
This publication outlines several financing options available to beginning farmers to start a farm, and to illuminate the step-by-step process of applying for a loan.

AGR-Lite Wizard
AGR-Lite (Adjusted Gross Revenue-Lite) is a federally subsidized insurance plan. It offers whole-farm revenue protection. The plan protects against low revenues due to losses attributable to unavoidable natural disasters such as fire, adverse weather and market fluctuations. The online “wizard” determines if you are likely to be eligible for AGR-Lite insurance, lists the coverage choices likely to be available, estimates your premium cost, and estimates what payments you would receive if eligible losses were sustained.