The Colorado Building Farmers and Ranchers program builds community and capacity in agriculture.  The program utilizes classroom learning and helps new farmers and ranchers:

  • Explore agriculture as a business
  • Learn how to manage risks 
  • Understand how to succeed in diverse markets. 

REGISTRATION CLOSED - 2023 Building Farmers Online Course

The principles of business planning and management short course.

Grow your business skills with this 8-week online course. 

Designed for beginning to intermediate level farmers and ranchers!

Join us starting January 17, 2023 on Tuesdays from 6pm-8:30pm for an interactive class that combines farmers teaching farmers, small group discussions, and business plan presentations, all in an online format. To further increase your business network, we will have discussions with grant, loan and other resource providers.

We will cover the principles of business management, developing a marketing plan, managing risk in your operation, obtaining financing, and more. We provide exercises, assessments and office hours throughout the course to help you build out your own farm/ranch business plan. The class culminates in you presenting your draft business plan to a group of your peers.


Registration for the course is $200 per person, and $100 for a second participant from the same farm business.

Course Details:

Class 1: January 17, 2023- Planning for Farm Business Success

We will help businesses identify their vision/mission statements, their short-term and long-term goals with clear action items for each, explain how personal and customer values influence the business plan, and provide the tools to perform a SWOT analysis to identify their potential marketing niche, customer base, location, etc.

Class 2: January 24, 2023- Getting Started in Agriculture

This panel discussion helps new and beginning farmers and ranchers hear how other successful growers got started, pivotal choices they made in the development of their farm business, and what those growers wish they had known when starting out. Participants have the opportunity to ask questions of the presenting producers.

Class 3: January 31, 2023- Strategic Marketing

Participants will develop a strategic market position and strategy consistent with the mission developed in the business plan; and create a marketing plan that includes product, pricing, placement/market channel and promotion goals and strategies, while identifying how customers, costs and competition are considered in marketing decisions.

Class 4: February 7, 2023- Managing Risk in Your Farm Business, Part 1

We will address a variety of current risk topics including setting up an appropriate business structure for your farm/ranch; thinking about insurance for a farm/ranch business; understanding water use and rights in Colorado and keeping yourself healthy under stressful situations.

Class 5: February 14, 2023- Managing Risk in Your Farm Business, Part 2

This class will cover managing labor and market risk, and accessing resources through NRCS.

Class 6: February 21, 2023- Keeping and Analyzing Financial Information for Farm Business Decision-making

This class will help participants understand the importance of recordkeeping for decision making in business planning, including production and marketing; differentiate between variable and fixed costs; develop a basic production plan including a calendar, estimated total output of product per market channel, and monthly labor estimates; estimate projected revenue by market channel; and understand the need for basic financial statements and begin to use them for operational management and planning.

Class 7: February 28, 2023- Financing Your Farm or Ranch Business

This class covers farm loan programs available to new and beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as grants, and includes discussion on how to best prepare for requesting a grant or loan.

Class 8: March 7, 2023- Business Plan Presentations

This is your opportunity to present your plan to your peers and some external reviewers. We will organize business plan presentations for the class, giving each business a time slot in which to present their plan to a group of advisors who will, in turn, provide constructive feedback.

Course flyer

Non-Discrimination Statement

Colorado State University Extension is an equal opportunity provider. Colorado State University does not discriminate on the basis of disability and is committed to providing reasonable accommodations. CSU’s Office of Engagement and Extension ensures meaningful access and equal opportunities to participate to individuals whose first language is not English. Colorado State University Extension es un proveedor que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades.

Colorado State University no discrimina por motivos de discapacidad y se compromete a proporcionar adaptaciones razonables. Office of Engagement and Extension de CSU garantiza acceso significativo e igualdad de oportunidades para participar a las personas quienes su primer idioma no es el inglés.

Larimer County Office of Colorado State University Extension

Send email

1525 Blue Spruce Dr.
Fort Collins, CO 80524-2004

Phone: (970) 498-6000 | Fax: (970) 498-6025

Office Hours
7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday

Our office follows the Larimer County Holiday Calendar for office closures. 

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