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BF 102: Exploring Markets & Profits

Testing the Feasibility of Your Farming Ideas

Have an idea for a farm enterprise but not sure if it’s feasible? This course will help you explore the potential markets and profitability of your ideas, picking up where BF 101: Square One left off. (You do not have to take BF 101 before taking BF 102) 
“Marketing might be the hardest and most important skill in beginning a farm, and so learning about some of the different ways to go about this was invaluable to me as I start my own farm.” –Elias K, Mount Arlington, NJ

Target Audience

BEGINNER – Aspiring farmers who are actively planning farm start-up. Beginning farmers in their first few years who are looking for some help exploring marketing, development of budgets, and tools to help achieve profitability. This is an intro-level course that is designed to be taken  after BF 101. (You do not have to take BF 101 before taking BF 102 however, you will likely get more out of BF 102 if you go into it with some existing knowledge of the concepts and terminology commonly used in business planning).

Course Objectives

This course will help you:

  • Identify farm goals, and begin developing a business plan.
  • Explore parts of a marketing plan.
  • Explore market channels and concepts for selling your product.
  • Begin to develop enterprise budgets and understand the potential for profitability with selected agricultural products
  • Understand that everything in farming is interconnected


The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in MOODLE, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from presenters and ask questions in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing. 


Beth Claypoole is Ag Issues Leader of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Wayne County, NY.

Sandy Buxton is a Farm Business Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Washington County, NY.


Wed, Jan 16 – Feb 20, 2019, with webinars on Wed evenings from 7-8:30pm Eastern time, and online “office hours” beginning each Wed at 6:30pm. Webinars will be recorded for later viewing. NEXT OFFERED JAN 2020

Course Outline

Week 1 – Introduction and Mission Statements 
Topics covered: Course overview and tips for using the course content software, Moodle. Student will revisit or craft mission statements for their farm.

Week 2 – Intro to Marketing Plans 
Topics covered: Introducing the parts of a Marketing Plan and how having a plan helps the farm be successful. Students begin marketing plan.

Weeks 3 and 4 – Marketing Channels 
Topics covered: Various outlets for selling products, and the pros/cons of each. Students will continue building their marketing plan as we explore these topics.

Week 5 – How Do We Measure Profitability? 
Topics covered: Ways to measure profitability. Students continue work on marketing plan.

Week 6 – What Will it Take to be Profitable? 
Topics covered: Assessing the profitability of particular crops and the farm as a whole. Review concepts covered in the course; students continue working on their marketing plan.

Cost and Registration

Registration is closed. This course will next be offered in Jan. 2020. Fee for this course is $250.

Sign up a month or more in advance of the start date and receive $25 off.

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