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UW Extension Offers Business Management Class for Young, New Ag Producers

July 29, 2008

Young farmers and new agricultural producers will build a set of financial, legal, risk management and strategic marketing skills in Challenge Group 2008, a nine-session University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service (UW CES) program in Park County.

Challenge Group 2008 is being offered this fall and winter.

"This program will challenge families to think comprehensively about their operations, interact closely with peers and build management skills," says Sandra Frost, UW CES educator in Powell, specializing in crops.

Three strategies are the core of the program, she says. Participants will develop a complete business plan and tour classmates' operations, and participants' financial records will be confidentially analyzed quarterly by a UW economist to highlight opportunities for improved risk management and cost control.

The program is open to all producers under age 35 or new to an operation and must be willing to host a tour of his or her operation, open financial books to a UW CES economist, carry out class assignments and be willing to attend sessions.

Each session focuses on a management area: family expectations, a business plan, financial statements, profitability benchmarks, a marketing plan, risk identification, insurance, labor management and farm business succession. "Participants will have homework," notes Frost.

Instructors include Cole Ehmke, extension specialist in agricultural entrepreneurship, and John Hewlett, extension farm/ranch management specialist in agricultural and applied economics. Additional speakers will be at many sessions, says Frost.

The program will meet nine Tuesdays beginning Oct. 14 at the Powell Research and Extension Center, 747 Road 9, Powell. The schedule includes: Oct. 14 and 28, Nov. 4 and 11, Dec. 9 and 16, Jan. 13, 20 and 27, and Feb. 3 as an extra day in case bad weather cancels a preceding date. Classroom work will begin at 8:30 a.m. After lunch, the group will tour an agricultural operation.

Brochures and applications are available from Frost. She can be reached at (307) 754-8836 or There is a $35 registration fee.

Funding for this project is provided by the Washington State University Western Center for Risk Management Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, and UW CES. Sponsors of the program are the Wyoming Crop Improvement Association, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, and Profitable and Sustainable Agricultural Systems initiative team of the UW CES.

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